Ramblings of an old Doc

 

Chrome's "autofill" for forms is a convenient feature, and it would be great, except that it 'leaks' information.

Websites which have forms to fill out can be a pain, and filling out forms is a pain, but what you see on the form is organized into "fields". You don't necessarily see all the fields. Some can be 'hidden' and get information from your browser you might not want the website to get. Pretty sneaky, imho.

At the gHacks link, there's a screenshot video which shows how it happens.

There are also instructions on how to prevent it:

  1. Load chrome://settings/ in the web browser's address bar.
  2. Click on "show advanced settings" at the end of the page.
  3. Scroll down to the "passwords and forms" section.
  4. Remove the checkmark from "Enable Autofill to fill out web forms in a single click".
I'd recommend removing the "autofill" feature and just doing it the old fashioned way, if you value your privacy and data.
 
Martin Brinkmann also made an interesting point, "There is the question whether browser add-ons that support automatic form filling may leak data to sites that use hidden form fields as well."

It's a good point...no answer just yet.







Comments
on Jan 07, 2017

Thanks Seth, guilty as described.

on Jan 07, 2017

I just went into that setting and it does appear that one can limit the information to auto fill. Not sure how that all works but I would never leave credit card info in a browser. (sorry hit the quote instead of the edit)

on Jan 07, 2017

I just unchecked it...and you're welcome.

on Jan 07, 2017

Thanks for the info Doc. Much appreciated.

on Jan 07, 2017

Don't like auto-fill. That's one of the first things I did after installing Chrome, uncheck the auto-fill and save password.

on Jan 07, 2017


Don't like auto-fill.

Same here!   I prefer to do it manually whenever forms need completing.  It may take a little longer but at least I'm in control of what is submitted.  I don't like 3rd party password keepers, either... much for the same reason.  Again, I want to be in control of what gets submitted, and I can't be sure the authors and sites I visit are unable to obtain passwords I have stored for other sites or applications.  For mine, when it comes to computers, convenience is so, so over-rated... especially with such things as Cortana and Siri, etc.

It's true that Google and others can track user habits and the sites they've visited through the browser, but there are tools to prevent much of that.  However, to 'so-say' function properly, Cortana and Siri both have access to users personal files, photos and calendars, etc... and I'm not comfortable with that, given I do not know where that data could end up.  Not that I have anything to hide... but it's called personal for a reason.  It's mine, and I, NOT Apple, Microsoft or Google, should decide where it goes and who gets to see it.

on Jan 07, 2017

starkers

Not that I have anything to hide... but it's called personal for a reason. It's mine, and I, NOT Apple, Microsoft or Google, should decide where it goes and who gets to see it.

on Jan 17, 2017

It really isn't Google or MS, etc. It's actually you yourself...and how you manage options in the browser you use. And, if you manage them correctly, the websites which have those hidden fields will not have them filled by your browser.

You make the choices...knowingly or not, and I'm just bringing that to your attention through this article's source...and how to fix it.

on Jan 17, 2017

DrJBHL

It really isn't Google or MS, etc. It's actually you yourself...and how you manage options in the browser you use. And, if you manage them correctly, the websites which have those hidden fields will not have them filled by your browser.

You make the choices...knowingly or not, and I'm just bringing that to your attention through this article's source...and how to fix it.

While this is true to a point, both Google and MS mine users data.  In fact, one doesn't even have to be a Google user to be tracked, watched, etc.... Google Analytics is used by just about every site these days.

And now more than ever, with the advent of Win 10, MS collects user data via apps and other methods built-in to the OS.  I'd say Apple and other software companies do it as well, because knowing users habits and etc helps them aim new and other products toward their customers.  It's all about money... and how much of ours they can get.

So in reality, Doc, we can set our browsers correctly, but the truth is that Google and MS can and do data mine users information regardless.... because most browsers don't have built-in privacy measures to prevent it.  No, one has to use various add-ons to do that, and even then there's no guarantee that information isn't leaked via other means.

As Metallica sing it.... It's Sad But True.

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