The web can be a dangerous place. With the constant threats of phishing or malware, you never can be certain if your important sign-in information is breached. That is why as part of Safer Internet Day on Tuesday, February 5, Google launched a new Chrome extension which will make sure your passwords are always protected and secure.
The latest extension, known as Password Checkup is available as a free download on the Chrome Web Store. It builds on an existing ability that automatically resets your Google password if it was determined to be part of a third-party data breach. Once installed, the extension scans a database of 4 billion compromised passwords and will alert you with a red dialog box and warning in the address bar if you need to change one or multiple of your passwords. The extension will not otherwise alert you to other compromised information such as a mailing address or phone number. Google says this is to ensure that these alerts remain actionable and not informational.
Privacy might be a concern, but Google claims that no one can learn the account or login details if you happen to use this extension. It notes it has leveraged privacy-protecting techniques with the help of cryptography researchers at both Google and Stanford University. That includes a four-step process, where the most important step involves storing an anonymous hashed version of passwords.
To tie in with the Password Checkup extension, Google is also introducing a new Cross Account Protection feature. Designed for use by third-party apps and developers, this ensures that if your Google account happens to be breached, any of their apps will be able to send you notifications to change your passwords. “We created Cross Account Protection by working closely with other major technology companies, like Adobe, and the standards community at the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and OpenID Foundation to make this easy for all apps to implement,” Google said.
Google’s Password Checkup extension wouldn’t be the first that ensures your passwords are secure, but it happens to be one of the only quality options that are free. Currently, there are a wide variety of extensions, including 1Password, which comes in $3 a month.