Mutilate  Cover Your Tracks - Internet Explorer*

 

 
Covering tracks on your hard drive left by Internet Explorer 4.X*

Unlike Netscape Navigator, Explorer's cache, history & cookie files cannot be written over and securely deleted in Windows because the files are in use during every Windows session. Access to these files is denied by Windows while they are in use.

To wipe these files, grab a copy of Mutilate Swapfile Wiper . The files you'll probably want to target are:

  • C:/Windows/Tempor~1/index.dat (your temporary internet files- these are cached html pages, images, etc)
  • C:/Windows/Cookies/index.dat (cookies)
  • C:/Windows/History/index.dat (history of visited websites)
  • C:/win386.swp (your swapfile)

The 'index.dat' files contain all the files showing in C:\Windows\Temporary Internet Files and C:\Windows\Cookies and C:\Windows\History.

Do not use Mutilate Swapfile Wiper in a DOS Window. You must exit Windows to the DOS prompt for the program to function. For real DOS mode, select Windows 'Start | Shut Down...' and select 'Restart in MS-DOS mode'. While you're at it, you should also wipe the swapfile since anything in the above files could find their way to the swapfile. Refer to the readme file supplied with Mutilate Swapfile Wiper for instructions.

You may find it convenient to use a batch file to accomplish the above. In notepad type:

cd\
C:\mutwipe.exe C:\windows\tempor~1\index.dat /n C:\mutwipe.exe C:\windows\cookies\index.dat /n
C:\mutwipe.exe C:\windows\history\index.dat /n
C:\mutwipe.exe C:\win386.swp /n

Next, save as 'wipe.bat' or some other unique name & put it in your 'C:\Windows' folder. To wipe your temporary internet files, cookies, history, and your swap file, all you'll have to do is type 'wipe' , then turn off your computer, or, type 'exit' to return to Windows. Add a line with the command 'exit' (without quotes) to the above batch file if you would like to return to Windows automatically.

 

Typed URLs

IE4 also keeps a history of visited sites in the registry. You'll see these files when you type in a URL and IE4 "guesses" what you are going to type to save you a few steps. Great idea, except it divulges previously visited sites.

These values reside in the registry at:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Internet Explorer/TypedURLs

You can delete them in the registry using the Windows program Regedit. Look for it (typically) at:
C:\WINDOWS\REGEDIT.EXE

Regedit allows you to save a copy of the registry (use the export function). You may want to do this before messing around with the registry.

 

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Another alternative to preserve your internet browsing privacy is to disable Explorer's cache, history, and cookie files. Explorer's built-in facility for disabling the cache and history folders is not secure. For example, you can set IE4's history folder to hold links for zero days, however, links for the current day are still stored on your hard drive. 

WARNING: Disabling the cache may a bit of overkill for normal use. Plan on losing your ability to download files with your web browser or to fill out a multipage online order. You may still find this technique useful for cookies or history. If you encounter wierd errors, remember how to restore your settings.

1) Disable the IE4 Cache Folder:

In IE4, select View | Internet Options...| General. In the Temporary Internet Files section select 'Delete Files '. Next select Windows 'Start | Shut Down... and select 'Restart in MS-DOS mode'

At the C prompt, change the directory to 'C:/Windows/Tempor~1' (type cd window/tempor~1, or from C:\Windows type cd tempor~1)

Type dir The dir command should return a listing of one file called index.dat. This file contains all the link files showing in C:\Windows/Temporary Internet Files. Now change the index.dat file to read-only with the following DOS command: 

Attrib +r index.dat 

If you run into problems or are not satisfied with the results, you can restore the file to its original state by typing:

Attrib -r index.dat

To confirm that index.dat is read-only type:

Attrib index.dat

DOS will return something like:

A R index.dat 

The 'R' indicates read-only. Now type 'exit' & return to Windows to run IE4 with a dead Cache.
 

2) Disable the IE4 History folder:

In IE4, select View | Internet Options...| General. In the History section change the value for "Days to keep pages in history" to 0. Then select the 'Clear History' button to delete current folders. Next select Windows 'Start | Shut Down...' and select ' Restart in MS-DOS mode'

At the C prompt, change the directory to 'C:/Windows/History' (type cd window/history, or from C:\Windows type cd history)

Type dir The dir command should return a listing of one file called index.dat. The files listed in the Windows/History folder are actually just this one file. Now change the index.dat file to read-only with the following DOS command: 

Attrib +r index.dat 

If you run into problems or are not satisfied with the results, you can restore the file to its original state by typing:

Attrib -r index.dat

To confirm that index.dat is read-only type:

Attrib index.dat

DOS will return something like:

A R index.dat 

The 'R' indicates read-only. Now type exit & return to Windows. You are now running IE4 with a dead History file.
 

3) Disable Cookies:

In IE4, select View | Internet Options...| Advanced. In the Security section under 'Cookies', select 'Disable all cookie use'.

You may want to close all open programs at this point and use Mutilate to wipe disk free space to wipe deleted information from your hard drive.

You should be able manipulate the above files without any adverse complications. Please note, however, some sites, such as Microsoft, may require intact cookies to perform some features. 

Warning: The above information is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Proceed at your own risk. I will not be responsible for any complications resulting from the use or misuse of this information.

*Internet Explorer and Windows are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corp

 

   

 

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