Did you know your online search history can be tracked? This simple step can stop that

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African American nurse working on the desk
It's a good idea to clear your browser history regularly. (Photo: Getty)

You may not give your search history much thought, but by practicing good "browser hygiene", you can help maintain your privacy online.

Your computer's search history is like a diary of your life. If you don't delete it regularly, you might be exposing more sensitive data than you think. So it's a good idea to clear your browsing history now and then. And if you ever use a public computer, always clear your search history after each session.

Installing and running a powerful tool like System Mechanic can assist in keeping your browsing history private. Quick Scan, a program that comes with System Mechanic, alerts you to any compromised privacy settings and helps find browser-stored passwords that may be vulnerable to hacking.

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You can also help maintain your privacy while online by opening a private browsing window, called “incognito” in some browsers. You can close it when you're done and delete your browsing history on the browsers you use.

However, it's important to point out that when you clear, delete, or hide browsing history on-screen, you do not remove your visits to those websites. In other words, even though the next person to use your computer won't be able to see where you've been if you clear your history, the sites you visit still can. If you're concerned about websites sharing your data with a third party, installing a system tune-up like System Mechanic can help. The software helps prevent your private data from being shared with third-party companies.

Vibrant portrait of young black woman using computer in college while doing research in library
Use a public computer? Be sure to clear your browser history each time. (Photo: Getty)

Leaving breadcrumbs of your identity all over the internet can make it easier for scammers to collect enough information about your private life to deceive you.

“No matter what information someone contacting you already claims to have about you, never confirm or help fill out that data further, or provide them any additional information about yourself or about other members of your household,” Rob Shavell, co-founder and chief executive officer of the cybersecurity firm DeleteMe, tells AOL. “The way scams often work is by tying together smaller pieces of personal data.”

Bottom line: Clearing your browser history is part of following good browsing hygiene. Having your browser set to private browsing or installing robust security software will also help keep you more secure.

Try System Mechanic for 30 days free*