A new report from the security firm Otto details a very serious data breach situation that’s playing out daily with millions of unsuspecting computer users, and it’s quite possible that you are affected by it.
Otto’s research discovered that both Chrome’s “Enhanced Spellcheck” feature and Microsoft’s popular “Microsoft Editor: Spelling & Grammar Checker” browser extension for Edge capture every bit of data you enter into any web form and transmit it back to Google and Microsoft’s servers.
And yes, that includes your email addresses, user names, credit card info, phone numbers and even your passwords.
Even worse, much of the info that’s sent back to the companies’ servers isn’t just processed for the purpose of spell checking and then deleted. In some cases the info they receive is stored in various third-party databases.
As you might imagine, this puts your most sensitive personal, financial and security information at risk.
If this concerns you (and it really should) you can put a stop to this data collection and transmission by disabling Chrome’s “Enhanced Spell Check” feature and removing the “Microsoft Editor: Spelling & Grammar Checker” browser extension from Edge. Just follow the steps below that apply to your situation.
How to disable Chrome’s “Enhanced Spell Check” feature:
Note: The Chrome vulnerability is only present when using the “Enhanced Spell Check” feature. The “Basic Spell Check” feature appears to be safe. Therefore, all you need to do is switch from Enhanced to Basic.
1 – Click the Customize and control icon that’s located in the top-right corner of the Chrome window (it looks like three vertical dots).
2 – Click Settings.
3 – In the left-hand-pane, click Languages.
4 – Find the “Spell Check” section in the right-hand pane and select Basic spell check.
Alternatively, if you don’t really need the spell checking feature you can simply disable it completely by toggling the “Check for spelling errors when you type text on web pages” setting to Off.
How to remove the “Microsoft Editor: Spelling & Grammar Checker” browser extension from Edge:
1 – Click the Extensions icon that’s located on the right side of Edge’s top menu bar (it looks like a piece from a puzzle), then select Manage extensions from the drop-down menu.
2 – Find “Microsoft Editor: Spelling & Grammar Checker” in the list of installed extensions and click Remove.
3 – You should now see a confirmation dialog box on the screen. Click the Remove button in that box to confirm that you really want to remove the extension.
That’s all there is to it. Your browser should no longer capture your form data and transmit it back to Google or Microsoft.