Google has released a new tool to give users better protection against data breaches – as long as they’re using the company’s Chrome web browser.
Password Checkup is a free Chrome extension that will keep an eye on passwords as you enter them, and let you know if it spots a match in its database of four billion leaked logins. If it detects a match, an automatic warning will be triggered, and Chrome will prompt you to put in a new one.
You can even use Chrome’s built-in password generator to create a new secure one, filled with symbols, numbers and random characters.
While it sounds like a brilliant initiative, many will feel creeped out that Google can instantly tell if your password has been compromised. That’s why the company has made it quite clear that this information is encrypted and its employees have no way of telling what your password actually is.
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“We built Password Checkup so that no one, including Google, can learn your account details wrote Google’s Kurt Thomas and Adam Dawes in a joint blog post announcing the plug-in. “To do this, we developed privacy-protecting techniques with the help of cryptography researchers at both Google and Stanford University.” A full explainer for the interested can be found on the company’s security blog.
But for the casual user that just wants to avoid the hassle of a data breach, that’s really all you need to know. Password Checkup isn’t the first company to provide something like this, but it’s user-friendly and – more importantly – free to use. You can download it here.
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This is absolutely worth doing, but if you don’t already have one, you should absolutely take this opportunity to register for a password manager at the same time. LastPass and Dashlane both have free versions that will be more than enough for most people, and both work on mobile and desktop. Crucially, both are also safer than reusing passwords, while easier than remembering hundreds of unique logins.
Will you be installing Password Checker? Let us know on Twitter: @TrustedReviews.