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Most annoying feature of the month: autocomplete=off

Thank you, dear browser developers, for trying hard to protect us innocent web surfers from the evils of the web. While features such as phishing protection might really be helpful, another very widely used, but seldomly recognised, feature isn’t. I am talking about the “autocomplete=off” feature here that prevents website to save login credentials in a system-wide password-manager (such as Keychain under Mac OS X). Meant to protect banking websites and other high-security sites, some webmasters apparently feel a need to use it for trivial-use websites such as Google or Deutsche Bahn. This is both annoying and dangerous. Annoying it is of course because it requries you to look up the password everytime you want to log in to that website. Dangerous it is, because people then might store passwords again in un-protected lists and / or copy-paste their login data to the form thereby making the data more easily accessible by intruders.

Solution? As in many cases: Use Firefox. While there seem to be some work-arounds to fix this annoying feature for older versions of Safari, newer versions of WebKit (the HTML engine underlying Safari) don’t seem to be patchable this way. However, with Firefox together with the add-on Greasemonkey, you can use scripts to enhance your surfing experience. The script re-enable_password_manager by andunix did the job for me. Now the Deutsche Bahn website opens again with login data pre-filled — as it should. 🙂

One final note about Greasmonkey: Don’t let yourself be confused by the options that it offers you when adding a new script. In case it did nevertheless, this Stackoverflow webpage might help clarify things.

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