As perfect timing for today’s Safer Internet Day, Google released a new Chrome extension that allows users to check if their passwords were exposed after the latest data breaches.
Once the extension has been added to your Chrome browser, Google notifies you with a warning if your login credentials matched any information found within an extensive database of four billion usernames and passwords from previous breaches.
Many of us are guilty with using the same passwords for our accounts, which is why breaches like that of Collection #1 remind us to use unique passwords instead. Regardless, even having many different passwords could be difficult in terms of knowing which hasn’t been compromised in such massive data breaches. However, thanks to Google’s extension, you can protect your accounts the next time you log in.
The Password Checkup extension works by encrypting the login credentials that are sent to Google. As Jon Porter from The Verge reports, “[p]asswords in the database are stored in a hashed and encrypted form, and any warning that’s generated about your details is entirely local to your machine.”
If you find out your password has been compromised, you can even use Chrome’s password generator to create a new password.
Though Chrome’s Password Checkup helps users in this time of need, this underlying concern still remains: are passwords really safe to use nowadays? WebAuthn–which uses tokens instead of passwords–may be a safer option, for example, but has yet to be implemented into more web browsers.
While you use Chrome’s new extension, make sure to utilize other resources to your advantage such as a password manager and two-factor authentication system. Furthermore, always use unique passwords when setting up your accounts.