Are you, like most of us, guilty of taking the short cut and using autofill to complete online forms? Well perhaps it’s time to think again and go back to the good old days of automatically filling out your details field by field!
Signing in and out of apps, into programs and online systems, while trying to recall (or look up) the respective passwords and user name logins, seems to be all a part of our daily ritual. Consequently, and in an effort to save time, you have probably experienced the convenience of autofill, especially when you are not in the mood to fill out lengthy forms and applications online. According to web developer Viljami Kuosmanen, this could be detrimental to your personal information security.
How does autofill work?
The autofill feature is completely predictive. Once you begin to fill out your details and personal information within an online form, or login page, the autofill prompt will ask if you want your information to be “autofilled”. The feature will then complete a number of hidden fields for you. This can include details that you should keep highly confidential, such as your residential address, credit card particulars, cell phone number, ID number and more.
Of course, it works differently in each browser. For instance, in Chrome all you have to do is click once and the entire form can be filled in for you. With Safari, it’s a little different in that it will advise you on the information that will be filled in, including hidden fields. Firefox is the only browser of these three that will not submit hidden fields when filling in forms.
What’s the risk?
Phishing is the real risk when it comes to autofill. In fact, we call it autophishing. At this point you might be wondering where the risk is, inadvertently secure in the knowledge that that no-one else has access to your computer and therefore no way to get into your saved autofill features. However, phishing is not only about someone having direct access to your computer. The moment you allow the autofill feature to work on a website you are putting your personal information into cyberspace, and with little knowledge of the type of security that the website offers, you are putting your personal details at risk.
Can you avoid being a victim? Absolutely! If you aren’t familiar with the website and company, make sure that you disable the autofill feature in your browser. A simple solution to a potential problem that could complicate your life. Keeping yourself safe and secure online is essential in this day and age.
Need more information and advice on protecting yourself while using the internet? Feel free to chat to us at any time.