You can never be too careful when browsing the web nowadays, with data scams being so prevalent and all. We have to be extra vigilant and constantly careful with the way we share online data because you never know how or where the hackers are lurking.
One way to protect your information is to use different passwords for your various online accounts. It’s important to make sure that those passwords are strong and unpredictable as well, or else you might open yourself up to possible fraud.
How Google is Helping
Google is doing its part to keep user data protected online. The tech giant has developed a technology that will alert users whenever there’s a potential risk to data security.
To achieve this goal, Google recently announced the introduction of an extension that will activate a visual prompt whenever it sees you using a “weak or “unsafe” username and password. That way, it gives you the chance to change your password before scammers can use it to hack you.
This is known as the Password Checkup Chrome extension. Users can download and install it straight from the Chrome extension web store and it’s available for free.
The tool is said to protect users from online data attacks like “password reuse” and “credential surfing”, both of which are common scams on the web.
How the Password Checkup Chrome Extension Works
Once installed, the extension will automatically monitor the usernames and passwords you use to make sure that they haven’t been breached.
If it finds that one of your passwords is unsafe, it will immediately alert you through a red visual warning that appears on the top right corner of your screen.
According to Google, their goal with the extension is to ensure user safety and privacy when browsing online. The extension has been optimized to make sure that it doesn’t become redundant. That means it won’t send you excessive alerts and will only instigate a pop-up warning when absolutely necessary.
The Password Checkup extension is not responsible for helping you create stronger passwords either. That’s the job of the website you’ll be entering your details on. The main objective of this extension is to monitor and prevent breaches in your username and password details. It’ll help you keep your credentials private and safe.
You’ll be forgiven for mistaking the Chrome Password Checkup extension with the Mozilla Firefox Monitor feature. The latter works similarly in that it alerts users to websites that have suffered breaches so that you can check if your account is in danger.
But, the Password Checkup extension is different in that it will actually scrutinize your login details every time you enter them into a website. It will then cross-reference the credentials you enter into the website to make sure that they haven’t been compromised during a previous browsing session.
Granted, some people may feel uncomfortable with the idea of letting an add-on to their private credentials. After all, how do we know that Google will keep your data private, and how will they protect it from falling into the wrong hands.
All of these are valid concerns and it seems like Google took them into consideration as well. According to Google engineers, the tech company is working with encryption experts from the Stanford University to create a “wall” between the data and the web browser, to make sure that Google doesn’t get access to any of your sensitive information. They’ve also designed Password Checkup so that it cannot ever reveal your information to hackers. All the activity is kept completely confidential and anonymous, and it’s between the user and the extension. Google will never have access to your private credentials at all.
In a Nutshell
Password Checkup is a Chrome extension that alerts you whenever your credentials have been compromised. This is why users are advised to take alerts seriously and act on them as soon as they appear. The extension is designed to prevent you from experiencing a breach in security and to make sure that the private data you share online is never leaked.
It’s important to note that Password Checkup is still a work in progress and Google will probably release better versions of it in the coming months. In fact, Google engineers say that they’re working on improving username and password detection technology and the site compatibility of this extension. So users should look out for updates in the next few months to make sure that they’re always using the latest version of the extension.
Lastly, while Password Checkup will increase your level of data protection, it doesn’t replace your existing online security measures. You still need to make sure that you use strong usernames and passwords.