With so many online security breaches in the past few years, Google is looking to new methods to keep users secure and safe when they’re using their favorite devices. The company has created a new extension for its Chrome browser called Password Checkup, which is designed specifically to let you know just how safe you really are.
According to the Verge, the extension is incredibly easy to use. Password Checkup automatically looks to determine whether or not your passwords have been part of a recent data breach. All you have to do is install it as part of your Chrome browser, and it does the rest. The app runs a check on all the login details you provide to websites, then looks to see if it matches any of the information in a database of breached passwords and personal data. If it finds a match, the app gives you a heads-up so you can take the necessary steps to secure your account.
Since it’s storing tons of personal data for this app, Google is taking extra precautions to keep users safe from data breaches. All the data is thoroughly encrypted, meaning no one can see what passwords or usernames you’re using. Should you need to receive a warning about a possible breach, the specific details will stay locally on your machine, making it that much harder for anyone to get their hands on your confidential information.
The need for such technology is rapidly growing, as more and more major companies are dealing with the fallout surrounding data breaches. Currently, the online database used by Password Checkup houses over 4 billion compromised credentials, and it’s being added to every day.
“We’ve reset something like 110 million passwords on Google accounts because of massive breaches and other data exposures,” Elie Bursztein, head of the anti-abuse research team at Google, said in an interview with Wired.
“The idea is, can we have a way to do it everywhere? It works in the background and then after 10 seconds you may get a warning that says ‘hey, this is part of a data breach, you should consider changing your password’. We want it to be 100 percent [that] if we show it to you, [then] you have to change it.”
Keep in mind, Google’s new extension doesn’t tell you if your passwords are actually good; it simply informs you whether or not your data has been compromised so you can take action. Google is still streamlining and adding to its app and will be expanding the available resources to help combat data breaches.