Safe Browsing


Your email account is likely to be at the centre of everything you do online, including visiting other websites and logging into social media accounts. If your email account is compromised this will put all of your other accounts and data at risk.  You can increase your safety online by doing the following:

  • Choose a strong password with multiple characters, capital letters and numbers. Avoid using family members or pets names, favourite locations or anniversary dates; choose something random like Hotwaterbottle!920.
  • Change your password regularly, particularly if you become concerned it has been compromised. Indications of this are emails being marked ‘read’ before you read them, emails being sent that you did not write, or emails confirming a new password request.
  • Don’t open links from senders you do not recognise in case they contain malware, and always run anti-virus software on all your devices. Be wary that sometimes, even hovering over the link to read the pop-up information, can deliver malware to your device, so ensure the link looks valid and relates to the rest of the information in the email.
  • If possible, avoid using other devices to login to your email address.
  • If you are being harassed via email, do not reply.  Block the sender and/or consider creating a new email address. Report such emails to the police and provide them with copies for evidence gathering purposes.
  • You can use sites like (to see if the email has been used to create spam) and (to search the IP address of the incoming email or website) which will help determine if an individual or organisation is from where they say they are.

Social Media

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter could potentially reveal your whereabouts if you have not adjusted your privacy settings. Social media could also be used as a method to send harassing or threatening messages or post inappropriate content. To protect yourself:

  • Limit who you accept as a ‘friend’ or ‘follower’ on your profiles.
  • Change your privacy settings on all social media profiles to ensure that only those you choose and trust can see your updates, photos and location.
  • Delete or block any friends or family members of the abuser who may allow them to stalk your profile through their accounts. Remember that you can block, unfriend or unfollow anyone who might be harassing you.
  • Be wary of revealing your location when posting images or status updates which may use geo-tagging.
  • Consider adding a second layer of login security, by using two factor authentication. This means you will be asked for additional security information or a verification code will be sent to your mobile device to verify your identity.
  • Speak to friends, colleagues and family members and ask them to increase their security settings on social media, and to never give out your email, phone number or location. also, not to tag you in any posts without your consent. You can also change your social media settings so that you must approve any posts you are tagged in before they are shared on your profiles.

Mobile Phones

Mobile phones constantly give out information about your location through calls, texts and other services. If you do not secure your device with a passcode, it can also be accessed by anyone close to you.

Someone could also track your whereabouts by installing a monitoring app on your device.  You can increase your safety using a mobile phone by doing the following:

  • Make your mobile device more secure by adding a pass-code or password which cannot be easily guessed (don’t use dates of birth or anniversary dates), and don’t share this information with anyone else. You can also add authentication like fingerprint or facial recognition identification.
  • Ensure your password for your Apple ID/Google Play Store is complex and change it regularly. If someone has access to these accounts, it could compromise information like billing address, credit/debit card information, and more. Turn off location services, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on your device when you don’t need them.
  • If you are conducting private and important meetings, switch your phone off and remove the battery if possible so your location is not compromised.
  • Install a malware scanner and anti-virus software. For guidance on how to remove spyware installed on your smartphone please visit
  • Tell-tale signs of a malware app being installed can be things like your mobile phone bill is exceeding the number of texts and calls you are making or your mobile’s battery isn’t lasting as long as usual, which could indicate location and calls are being tracked.

Remember that your mobile device can never be 100% secure. If you think your abuser can track you, consider leaving your device at home and/or using a disposable pay-as-you-go phone for a while.


Many apps you download may be tracking your location and behaviour. You can download a malware protection app to track any applications or downloads which may put your safety at risk, and ensure no malware or location tracking apps have been installed without your knowledge.

  • You can install the ZoneAlarm Mobile Security app which provides advice on privacy and potential security risks.
  • Keep check of apps installed on your device and delete any that you do not use or want.
  • Limit which apps are allowed to access your location, photos, contacts and other information. Be wary of apps like ‘Find my phone’ which can be used to locate your device.
  • If you are concerned about certain apps being discovered on your device, consider deleting these once you are done with them, and reinstall them at a later stage.
  • Remember that apps you download appear in your app store downloads list, and will show on every device which you are logged into (with your Apple ID or Google Play Store login details). Be mindful that if your account is linked to your partner/ex-partner’s credit/debit card they will be notified of any new app downloads.
  • If your partner or ex-partner set up your phone or registered the app store account, they can see what you have downloaded without needing access to your device. If you think this is the case, change your app store registered email and password.


Most browsers track which pages you visit, your searches, and how long you spend on each page. This means anyone who can access your devices could see this information. Browsers can also store information about you such as usernames and passwords.

  • If you want to browse privately and search pages which are not consequently stored in your browser history, you can choose to use a private browser. Google Chrome offers ‘Incognito’ mode, and Safari has a ‘Private Browsing’ mode. Browsing on Samsung devices, you can browse privately by selecting ‘Turn on Secret mode’.
  • To prevent anyone being logged in automatically to your accounts (such as email or social media), do not allow browsers to automatically save your passwords.
  • You can use the ‘Trace My Shadow’ tool on to discover other areas where you may be vulnerable online.

Additional safety tips

  • Google your own name and inspect any content and/or photos which appear. Remove as much of it as you can by editing your privacy settings.
  • You can use to check if your email accounts have been compromised in a data breach.
  • Be wary when using online forums, even if they are private. Abusers could use false names to join the forum and see your posts, so be careful not share any private information.
  • Log any incidents of abuse using the My Journal feature within the Bright Sky app. Save screenshots of any online abuse, and record any voicemails left on your device.
  • Consider using a password manager. These are software packages available for your computer and mobile devices which simplify the need to remember multiple passwords. Recommended as such are or

Further information can be accessed from these links:

  • Digital stalking: A guide to technology risks for victims here
  • The ‘Internet of Things’ from UCL Website here
  • Online Safety from Spunout Ireland Website here


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