The autofill function is actually useful in Internet browsers. It automatically completes an entry when the first letters of a word have been typed. However, there are also some dangers lurking behind it.
It is practical that browsers can retain form data once entered – such as address, e-mail or telephone number – and then automatically suggest and insert them at a suitable point. However, this function, also known as “autofill” or “automatic filling”, can also be attacked in many browsers and extensions.
Attackers have already made use of the Aufofill function in the past by luring users to specially prepared websites on which they are supposed to enter comparatively uncritical information such as names or email addresses. However, the pages were peppered with invisible form fields that used the autofill function to query sensitive information, from phone numbers to credit card numbers – and received them.
Users who use the Chrome browser to surf the Internet usually do not notice the attack. According to experts, Safari tells them what information the browser is releasing for a form. And that even if these are not visible. According to “Heise Security”, Firefox’s immunity to the attack arises from the fact that users of this browser must first click on each form field individually before the activated autofill function releases information.
The autofill function should therefore be deactivated in the settings to be on the safe side, advises the online specialist “Heise Security”. Chrome, Chromium-based browsers such as Opera or Vivaldi and Safari are affected, but not Firefox.
Chrome users simply open the “Settings” menu (top right using the three little dots) and click on “Advanced Settings” at the bottom.
In the tab on the side, the function appears as “Autofill” or “Automatic filling”. It distinguishes between the completion of address data, passwords and payment methods. All three methods can be managed and deactivated independently of one another with a click on the respective category.
If you use Safari, you also go to the settings. This can be reached by clicking on “Safari” in the upper left browser window. There, users then select the “Fill in automatically” tab and also remove the tick next to the information that should not be filled out automatically.