With so many data breaches happening almost every week, it has become difficult for users to know if their credentials are already in possession of hackers or being circulated freely across the Internet.
Thankfully, Google has a solution.
Today, February 5, on Safer Internet Day, Google launches a new service that has been designed to alert users when they use an exact combination of username and password for any website that has previously been exposed in any third-party data breach.
The new service, which has initially been made available as a free Chrome browser extension called Password Checkup, works by automatically comparing the user’s entered credential on any site to an encrypted database that contains over 4 billion compromised credentials.
If the credentials are found in the list of compromised ones, Password Checkup will prompt users to change their password.
Wondering if Google can see your login credentials? No, the company has used a privacy-oriented implementation that keeps all your information private and anonymous by encrypting your credentials before checking them against its online database.
“We designed Password Checkup with privacy-preserving technologies to never reveal this personal information to Google,” the company emphasizes. “We also designed Password Checkup to prevent an attacker from abusing Password Checkup to reveal unsafe usernames and passwords. Finally, all statistics reported by the extension are anonymous.”
You can also check this easy 4-step visual explanation to learn more about how it works under the hood.
Moreover, it is not yet another “weak password warning tool” that alerts users whenever they use a commonly used or easily crackable password for any website.
“We designed Password Checkup only to alert you when all of the information necessary to access your account has fallen into the hands of an attacker,” Google says.
“We will not bother you about outdated passwords youn have already reset or merely weak passwords like ‘123456.’ We only generate an alert when both your current username and password appear in a breach, as that poses the greatest risk.”
The Chrome browser extension, Password Checkup, is available from today, and anyone can download it for free.
Besides launching the new Chrome extension, Google also lists five Official Security Tips which includes keeping your software up-to-date, using unique passwords for every site, taking the Google security checkup, setting up a recovery phone number or email address, and making use of two-factor authentication.
Chrome users can follow these security tips to keep themselves safe on the Internet.