Safari importing other people's bookmarks?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by dubs83, Sep 11, 2016.

  1. dubs83 macrumors regular

    Dec 31, 2011
    I've noticed that I have a ton of bookmarks in Safari as well as favorited websites that I've never bookmarked. I don't use Safari on my macbook air, but obviously use it with my iphone. Does anyone know what is going on here? Did I accidentally somehow import someone else's bookmarks? I've never loaned either my macbook or iphone, so am really confused what is going on here...
  2. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Aug 5, 2001
    Safari comes with a standard set of bookmarks.
  3. dubs83 thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 31, 2011
    I have hundreds of bookmarks, random favorited websites, and folders like 'John's youtube' etc. Basically, it looks like safari is importing other people's bookmarks. Only thing I can think of is that somehow when I'm on public wi fi hotspots it is importing other people's bookmarks?

    I don't know what it is, but it is really creepy and weird. I'm going to contact Apple, but has me concerned about security on my macbook now. I hardly ever take it out of the house too (if so, Starbucks wi fi usually)
  4. RedTomato macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2005
    .. London ..
    Public wifi hotspots are *usually* configured so that devices can't even see each other, let alone apps contact each other or swap information. It would be very unlikely for this to happen that way.

    Maybe someone recharged their iphone or ipad from your laptop and a sync was accidentally done? Have you shared music or pics or video from your phone with anyone (via plugging into their laptop)? Or downloaded from their phone / tablet to your laptop? In these situations it's very easy to do an accidental sync.
  5. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    It sounds like you have Safari sync turned on in iCloud. That will sync history and bookmarks from your iPhone to the Air.
  6. dubs83 thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 31, 2011
    Nope. I have never shared anything. I'm basically assuming my apple id was hacked. I went ahead and changed my password and hopefully that solves it. The weird thing is, I have what appears to be folders from multiple people (i.e 'Bryces iphone and 'Johns folder' so if was hacked, was I hacked by many people?

    Just really strange overall. Has me a little panicked, because I have really no idea how these bookmarks got on there. I deleted all of them, and changed my apple id password, but would be nice to know what exactly happened.
  7. RedTomato macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2005
    .. London ..
    I accept you haven't shared anything. You're right, it's a puzzling problem. I am 90% sure it is not a hack, more of an error being made somewhere. If it is indeed an error being made somewhere, then changing your password may not stop it happening again. Could you answer a few questions?

    - When did you first notice new bookmarks appearing?
    - Did the other people's bookmarks appear all at once or slowly accumulate over time?
    - How many other people's bookmarks do you have?

    - Has anyone else plugged in their device into your computer for any reason? (even if just for a quick recharge)
    - Have you ever plugged in one of your devices into someone else's computer? (even if just for a quick recharge)

    - Do you use Dropbox or iCloud or Google Drive or any other cloud storage service?
    - At work, do you use a workplace wifi, or use a shared company Dropbox or other company shared folder?

    This is my most likely guess - that you got the bookmarks via a misconfigured company filesharing service

    If it was indeed from work, tread carefully. If you say anything to your co-workers or management, they may worry you have hacked their bookmarks. It may be best to do what you have done - delete the files, keep your mouth shut, and hope it doesn't happen again.
  8. dubs83 thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 31, 2011

    1) first noticed the new bookmarks a few weeks ago. I didn't give it much thought at the time (thinking I must've bookmarked the links) but after going through them a few days back it is apparent I didn't bookmark 90% of them.

    2) I think the bookmarks appeared all at once but can't be certain. I just noticed on my safari homescreen on my iphone that there werer a TON of favorite bookmarks...some mine, many not. So I went through them, then went to bookmarks folder and noticed a ton more that weren't mine.

    3) I actually deleted the bookmarks the other day but I probably had roughly 150-200 other people's bookmarks. Lots of folders as well (i.e. John's iphone, Cindy's iphone etc.). I counted about 10-15 names of people I've never known.

    4) No one has ever plugged their device into my computer or used my iphone (to my knowledge). I keep close eye on both and actually hardly take my macbook out of my room in my house. Even if someone did get a hold of the macbook, you would think there would only be one folder name (i.e. John's iphone). Not several names...unless several people accessed my phone and/or macbook which is highly unlikely.

    5) I use icloud and google drive. I used dropbox years ago to store a couple of files. I just checked it now and the same files are there. I store quite a bit on google drive...but don't sync any of it to icloud. icloud is just a bunch of pics I took with my iphone.

    6) I work for a school district (but I only started the job a few weeks back), and the wi fi is password protected. I do use a google drive shared account at one school I work at. I only accessed it for the first time last week but I noticed these bookmarks a few weeks back so that wouldn't add up.

    Not going to worry about it too much. I imagine some wi fi network I was on was misconfigured and somehow I got access to other people's bookmarks. That is some seriously crappy security though if that is the case.

    The funny thing is, you'd think someone else would've had a similar issue, but haven't found anyone that has had this issue before. Really has me curious now how it happened.

    Thanks for the help!
  9. Julius2 macrumors newbie

    Jan 8, 2018
    Hi! Have you ever found the solution to your problem? Or rather - what happened?
    I have the same problem. I’ve been through couple of iPhones and macs and my safari still has hundreds of weird (some of them plain scary!) bookmarks...
    Tried to remove them.... they come back

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