Can I Erase My Computer Visits At Work PC?

Sometimes at work I visit funny and/or kinky sites - how can I erase my tracks so my managers & co-workers won’t know where I was surfing? (The “History” file is the one that gives me away since I access them all through Google in my address window)

Well, unless you are connecting to the Internet at work with a modem connected directly to a phone line, your HTTP requests probably go through a central computer at your office which is what is actually connected to the net.

So, deleting your history files on your own computer won’t save you if your boss really wants to nail you. Sorry.

In IE, go to tools -> internet options -> clear history. In Netscape, if memory serves, you need to go to edit -> preferences -> navigator -> history and hit the clear history button there. In that case, you may want to clear the location bar as well, which is another button in the same window. These directions assume you’re using a fairly current version of whichever browser you’ve got. If that doesn’t help, please give the browser name and version.

Use your bosses computer.

  1. In IE, go to tools -> internet options -> clear history.

  2. In IE, go to tools -> internet options -> delete files.

  3. In IE, go to tools -> internet options -> settings -> view files -> delete all files within folder. (this will delete cookies that are often forgotten about by users.)

If your connection goes through another computer, then it’s all tracked on that, so anything you do on YOUR computer to get rid of evidence is time wasted.

Do one of three things:

  1. Do your naughty surfing on lunchtimes or times when the office is supposedly closed (a minor defense: you’re not surfing through this stuff on company time)
  2. Do what the Major said and use your bosses’ computer (great idea, BTW, Major Feelgud!) That way they can’t pin it on you…UNLESS you have to sign in for yourself with your handle and password, in which case it is, again, all for naught.
  3. Leave the naughty surfing time for where it belongs, in the home. I’ve read a few articles about this and believe me, bosses in general DO NOT like the idea of you going to “kinky” sites while you’re supposed to be working. The internet is there for you to communicate with your clients and do research for the company, not to get your laughs and jollies.
    Depending on what your boss is like, I’m sure he’ll let you get away with a daily trip to a joke site, but sexy/naughty stuff is a big no-no and will get you fired.

Hope that helps.

I would go with Darqangelle’s #3. My present employer will fire people on the spot. My previous employer would do the same, they even pulled one of the hard drives to keep in case of a lawsuit.

Well…there is a way, but you’re not going to be able to pull it off without a pretty good understanding of what’s going on:

Get a shell account on a computer outside your company’s network (i.e. on an ISP that offers shell-only access), run a proxy server there, and use an encrypted SSH pipe to forward your traffic there. You tell your browser that the inside end of the SSH pipe is the proxy server. This requires your firewall to pass SSH connections, but is a very strong way to cover your tracks.

Even better. Use the boss’s computer and sign his name when you register at the sites! How could would that be?

How could would that be? What the hell does that mean?

I meant “how cool would that be,” of course!

What kind of computer? Anyway, try search for ‘cookie’ that gives you a wonderful list of small programs you can use to protect yourself. Yeah, I found that list with that word.

Also, one can surf anon at certain free web sites, I think is one.

Dantheman: it doesn’t matter whose name you use to register at dodgy sites. System administrators are only interested in who is looking at what site (i.e. which person at which PC at what time), not at what name they’re using to look at it with. Using a different registration name won’t make a blind bit of different to that.

Handy is correct that there are anonymous surfing sites. However, if your system administrator is remotely good they will note unusual amounts of time spend at sites like Safeweb or Anonymizer (I work in IT security and it’s a standard thing to check for in the internet access logs at clients I visit) – they may even log or block access to those sites specifically to catch people attempting to bend the rules.

Boring as it sounds, I’d go with Darqangelle’s number 3 option. Most large companies cover their backsides with catch-all internet usage policies and are quick to sack people breaking them (in fact, that’s often the main reason for a corporate usage policy: to make it easy to sack someone without them claiming “I didn’t know that wasn’t allowed”).

This is one that most forget. I busted someone once for this very thing. While backing up thier data, I saw the cookie files go by, and a lot of them were from porn sites. Obvious porn sites. I am required to turn it over to security, so I don’t know what happened to them after that.

What about using to do all your browsing? I’m not sure if this will stop the local admins from seeing the individual HTTP requests, but at the least it will stop all the forbidden sites from showing up in the history window. Nice if you like avoiding cookies, too.

True, MsWhatsit, but some admins will either block it or keep an eye out for people spending time on it (and slap them on the wrists!). See the posts above.

I’m in kind of the same boat as the OP, and I cannot use safeweb because access is forbidden, but I was wondering if it might also be helpful to set Days to keep pages in history? to zero and not to type anything into the Address window?
At my workplace we have found that the only way to get rid of a URL typed in the Address rectangle is to type a “legal” URL over it. Anyone have a better solution?


Again, this all depends on how your company is set up. Most large companies (well, all of the ones I’ve visited) handle incoming and outgoing traffic through one or more proxy servers or firewalls – basically, equipment for regulating what messages come in and go out and where they’re allowed to go.

Without going into the details, the sites you visit will be recorded there as well as on your local PC – so there’s not really anything you can do to clear or hide your tracks. If someone checks the web access logs, they’ll look at the ones on the firewall or proxy server, not on your PC.

All these measures are useless. The courts have ruled multiple times that all communications from a company computer are property of that computer, you have no expectation of privacy. Some employers use snoopware, so even if you use a private phone line, even a cel phone, for your connection, they can go into your computer and find out what you’ve been up to. One company makes a gadget that fits in your keyboard and stores everything you’ve typed (up to limit of memory) and can spit it back out on demand. So even if you’re clever, wipe all traces of snoopware from your computer, the data is still retrievable. Even checking the keyboard for bugs isn’t enough. I heard of one case where someone suspected of surfing porn was monitored with a surveillance camera.

Keep in mind that surveillance produces an incredible amount of data, and it can be a real pain in the butt to wade through that stuff to “nail” someone.

At the place I used to work, the IT guys got a weekly list of every web site visited by every employee. Of course they did little more than glance at it.

Also, most people get misdirected to porn sites now and then.

So, if you don’t do it to excess, you may very well be ok, depending on your employer.