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Why you should disable autofill in your browser: protect your privacy!

March 27, 2018    |    Cyber Security    |    Lauren Elkins

How to Disable and Clear Autofill Info

What browser are you on? Chances are it’s Chrome, but perhaps you like to stand out a little and do things differently. According to Global Web Statistics, 63.3% of global users are on Chrome. Safari comes next at just over 14%, Internet Explorer at 6.9%, and Firefox at 6.1%.

Whatever your choice, the web browser you’re using to read this post has a password manager tool. It might even suggest a helpful way for you to save passwords for logging into sites faster in the future.

“Want me to remember this password for next time?”

Sure, you think, and click OK.

How helpful, Chrome. You are my friend, Firefox. Thanks for the help, Safari.

These built-in browser tools are lightweight versions of the password management tools offered by companies like LASTPASS and 1PASSWORD (which WE LIKE, by the way). It’s important to BE SMART WITH PASSWORDS, something we’ve mentioned in past posts. Most of us know the best way to handle our online accounts, but we don’t put that into action. According to YouGov, 22% of online users have the exact same password for most of their online logins, and 42% of users do that for some of their accounts. Combine that with the 6% that use one password for all accounts, and you have 70% of users reusing a password.

Using the browser password tool could be a good way for you to improve your password practices, but guess what? These helpful lightweight browser tools are being exploited! It’s important to know how to disable browser autocomplete.

Why Disable Autofill?

PRINCETON’S CENTER FOR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY POLICY published in-depth information about how third-party scripts comb through your personal data by snagging it from these built-in password managers. Yikes!

Here's a quick summary of what's happening:

  1. You visit a website that has ads on it.
  2. Those ads run scripts that inject invisible login forms into the background of the webpage.
  3. Those login forms scoop up anything your helpful browser autofills into the form.
  4. That information is used to track you from page to page and target advertising.

Supposedly, the focus is on usernames, but “there’s no technical measure to stop scripts from collecting passwords the same way,” as RUSSELL BRANDOM WITH THE VERGE points out.

And guess what else? That data is also sold through a massive consumer data broker. Unfortunately, we’re not surprised. If you want to protect your privacy, you must be your own advocate.

How To Disable Browser Autocomplete

Now you’re probably left wondering, “But how do I stop Google from autofilling?” or “How do I turn off autocomplete?” But fear not, we are here to help! We’ve provided step-by-step instructions on how to disable and clear autofill info for the four most common browsers: Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, and Firefox.

Chrome

How to Disable Autofill in Chrome:

  1. Click the Chrome menu icon. (Three lines at top right of screen.)
  2. Click on Settings.
  3. Scroll to the section called "Autofill"
  4. Click on passwords and uncheck "Offer to save passwords"
  5. Click on Addresses and more, and uncheck "Save and fill addresses"

Chrome

How to Clear Autofill Data in Chrome:

  1. Click the Chrome menu icon. (Three lines at top right of screen.)
  2. Click on More Tools.
  3. Select Clear browsing data.
  4. Select Advanced
  5. At the top, choose “all time” option to clear all saved data.
  6. Make sure that the “Autofill form data” option is checked, and then click “Clear Data.”

Safari

How to Disable Autofill in Safari:

  1. Click on the Safari menu and select Preferences.
  2. Choose AutoFill.
  3. Click on each of the check boxes next to the autofill options to deselect them, turning off the autocomplete for each option.

Safari

How to Clear Autofill Data in Safari:

  1. Click on the Safari menu and select Preferences.
  2. Choose AutoFill.
  3. Next to “User Names and Passwords” click Edit.
  4. Enter your password
  5. Highlight all and click Remove, or find any information stored for iClassPro.com and remove it specifically.

Internet Explorer

How to Disable Autofill in Internet Explorer:

  1. Click on the Tools menu icon.
  2. Click on Internet Options.
  3. Choose the Content tab.
  4. In the AutoComplete section choose Settings.
  5. Uncheck Forms and User Names and Passwords on Forms.
  6. Click OK in the AutoComplete Settings Window and then OK in the Internet Options Window.

Internet Explorer

How to Clear Autofill Data in Internet Explorer:

  1. Click on the Tools menu icon. (Gear at top right of screen.)
  2. Click on Internet Options.
  3. Select the Content tab.
  4. In the AutoComplete section click on Settings.
  5. At the bottom of the AutoComplete Settings window, click Delete AutoComplete History.
  6. Check Form Data and Passwords and then click delete.
  7. Click OK in the AutoComplete Settings Window and then OK in the Internet Options Window.

Firefox

How to Disable Autofill in Firefox:

  1. Click on the Firefox menu icon and select Preferences.
  2. Click the Privacy & Security icon.
  3. Under Forms & Autofill, uncheck "Autofill addresses"
  4. Under Logins & Passwords, uncheck "Ask to save logins and passwords for websites"

Firefox

How to Clear Autofill Data in Firefox:

  1. Click on the Firefox menu icon and select Preferences.
  2. Click the Privacy & Security icon.
  3. Click on “Clear History.”
  4. In the Time Range to Clear drop down, choose “Everything.”
  5. Make sure “Form & Search History” is checked and then click "Clear Now".

 

By ensuring that you have disabled and cleared your autofill, you will protect yourself from malicious hackers looking to profit off of your personal information. And as an added bonus: if someone were to hop on your computer without your permission, your sensitive data won’t be openly displayed to them either — that’s what we call a win/win!

Better Safe Than Sorry