Privacy Alerts - Internet Cache

Internet cache - you and your cache: the perfect date

For those of you who don't know, your cache is an incredibly important part of your computer. A cache is a collection of duplicated data stored or computed earlier, where the original data is expensive to re-find or to re-compute, relative to the cost of reading the cache.

In other words, a cache is a temporary memory area where frequently accessed data can be stored for rapid access. Once the data is stored in the cache, future use can be made by accessing the cached copy rather than re-finding or re-computing the original data, so that the average access time is lower. Caches have proven to be extremely effective and time-saving in many areas of computing.

So basically, a cache saves you time while you are browsing. Also, if you want to review a page that you happened to view a day or so ago again, you can check in your browser's history.

The cache can become a privacy issue when sensitive information or adult material is viewed on the web. Basically, every site you have visited since your last cache clearing or computer cleanup will be on record to anyone who has access to your computer.

Adult material is a larger issue in some countries than others. About 20% percent of websites visited in the United States are adult sites (that is 20% reported, so the number is likely higher than that). Our friends in Germany are on adult sites for 53% of their visits; Spain comes in second at 40%.

It's interesting that adult sites make up only about 10% of websites, but account for a much larger percentage of traffic.

Adult material as a search engine keywords make up about 5% of searches in the United States (compared to 8-10% for Europe).

The solution for this one is simple: if you have viewed sensitive or adult material on your computer... just ensure your privacy in a few quick steps. The most important parts are: cache, cookies, web history, download history, and a few other things.

1) To clear your private information in your browser

From your browser window ->

a) With Mozilla Firefox: "Tools" -> "Clear Private Data" -> then check off the boxes you want to clear (clear all the options unless you need something, e.g. a stored password).

FYI: There are numerous privacy settings under "Tools" -> "Options" -> privacy tab. You may want to check that out.

b) With Internet Explorer: "Tools" -> "Internet Options" -> general tab -> browsing history (this includes temp. files, history, cookies, saved passwords, and web form information)

2) Clear your private information in your media player if needed

Remember your media players (Windows Media, Real Player, QuickTime Divx player, etc) have a separate history, cookies, and cache as well. To clear them, typically search under the "tools," "options," "privacy," or "preferences" section. The options will be similar to your browser clearing.

3) Empty your recycle bin if needed

Deleted items may be moved to your recycle bin. These are still visible until you empty your recycle bin.

4) If you're still concerned...

See our hard-drive privacy section and learn about "bleaching" programs and file deletion.

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