March 26th, 2009 by Olga Koksharova
Category: «General», «Security», «Tips & Tricks»

Have you ever had to say sorry because you’ve sent an e-mail to a wrong person? Isn’t it an embarrassing situation? Hopefully it wasn’t a confidential e-mail otherwise you may get into trouble. After all it’s typical of all of us. You’ve simply made a stupid blunder to enter a wrong address…or to use AutoComplete. Such things may trigger some unpleasant consequences which is actually a minimal harm AutoComplete can incur.

AutoComplete is just another exiting feature that can save your time. It is designed to accelerate computer interactions, facilitate the working process, and spare you the necessity to type in the whole text. Though it was initiated for user’s convenience, AutoComplete represents an ominous threat to the security of your sensitive data.
It “memorizes” the text you’ve once entered and stores it in certain program files from where it can be extracted. Next time when you start typing AutoComplete displays coinciding texts you’ve already typed here. You simply choose the right match. It is really handy!

AutoComplete is now an “inescapable” feature of all today’s Internet browsers (Internet Explorer, Opera, Firefox etc.), text editors (MS Office), and other applications. Although AutoComplete is practically always turned on in most software applications by default, most of them provide an option to deactivate AutoComplete for user names and passwords. Nonetheless, it may track some sensitive data you’ve once entered, for example your credit card number.

AutoComplete is inherently a dangerous feature. All texts you’ve typed are stored in special program files which are practically a sitting duck for all hackers. These files are absolutely not protected, and anyone who got an access to your computer can easily retrieve that information. On the market you can find special programs that come in handy to retrieve AutoComplete strings. When you surf the Web you may fill in various on-line registry or application forms. Imagine you have to enter your personal or corporate credit card number or even a Pin code. Think twice, you go in danger! It may seem that a trustworthy website will save you from information theft but this an illusion. Website reliability doesn’t fix anything, because the information remains on the computer and becomes exposed to everybody. Hopefully you never use public computers for these purposes.

In today’s world virtually all of us are anxious about time saving and time gaining and AutoComplete comes like a godsend. Nonetheless this feature is not that innocent and in exchange for convenience it practically jeopardizes your security and gives away your secrets.