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Google announces Password Checkup, a Chrome extension to prevent data theft

Google says Password Checkup will evolve in the coming months to secure user accounts.

  • Published: February 6, 2019 2:56 PM IST
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As part of its Safer Internet Day initiative, Google has launched a new tool that aims to keep your data secure beyond Google’s own sites and applications. The search giant has released a new Chrome extension called Password Checkup that will become a part of your browser and help protect your account from third-party data breaches. Alongside this extension, Google has also released a new feature called Cross Account Protection. The Password Checkup tool works by detecting whether your username and password combination are unsafe for use online.

Google says it does so based on data confirming that the credentials are among the over 4 billion credentials that have been compromised. In such a case, the extension will trigger an automatic warning and suggest that you change your password. The tool works similarly to the way Google secures accounts on its own platforms. “For example, we already automatically reset the password on your Google Account if it may have been exposed in a third-party data breach,” Google said in a post.

The search giant said that this security measure reduces the risk of an account getting hacked by a factor of ten. It also notes that the extension has been built to ensure that no one, including Google, can learn your account details. It works with the help of privacy-protecting techniques developed with the help of cryptography researchers at both Google and Stanford University. While the extension is the first version, Google plans to refine it further in the coming months.

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The Password Checkup tool introduced by Google is not the first feature to warn if your credentials have been compromised. One of the most prominent tool is “Have I Been Pwned?,” which offers a database of breaches allowing users to check whether one of your online accounts has been compromised. Mozilla uses HIBP as part of Firefox Monitor and there are other tools such as PassProtect, which also rely on the same database.

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  • Published Date: February 6, 2019 2:56 PM IST