Google Releases Password Checkup Extension to Help You Secure Your User Credentials

By Bill Toulas / February 6, 2019

Google has just released a new Chrome browser extension named “Password Checkup” that is devoted to helping users stay protected against account takeover. The extension is checking whether the credentials entered by users to log-in to various online platforms have been compromised by any of the data breaches that are known to Google, and if they turn out to be, the user is prompted to change their password. Google has developed Password Checkup with the help of cryptography experts at Stanford University. In addition, the tech company assures us that the way their extension is built doesn’t allow them to get to know your credentials or even to risk leaking them.

First of all, Password Checkup only focuses on looking up the usernames and passwords entered, so it cannot warn you for other data leaks that concern phone numbers, email addresses, etc. The extension treats usernames and passwords as couples, so if you have changed either after a breach, it won’t urge you to reset them again. If you are using a very simple password like “123456”, it will not display a warning about risking your security with it. All in all, Password Checkup is not designed to bother you with constant alerts, but only when it’s really crucial.

Google Password Checkup Infographic

Image Credits: Google

The natural concern that arises from this checking action is security, as many will see this extension as yet another point for a possible breach. Google has placed a lot of effort in that part, claiming that the statistics and data that are used for the look-ups are encrypted. Moreover, the developers have taken steps to render brute force guessing attacks useless, while they have implemented multiple layers of hashing, k-anonymity, and blinding. Simply put, this means that Google never gets to know the real user input, in that case, the credentials, but can still compare them with breached credentials databases that currently contain over 4 billion records.

As the Password Checkup has just been released, Google is calling people to give it a spin and see how it works for them. In the following months, they will continue refining this new tool, especially on the side of widening its website compatibility spectrum.

Does the Password Checkup extension make you feel any safer, or are you not planning to use it? Let us know in the comments section below, and don’t forget that we appreciate likes and shares on stories like this one, on our Facebook and Twitter.

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