Hackers Are On The Prowl: Protect Your Passwords
As if we didn't have enough to fret over this year. But sadly, hackers and scammers never rest.
More and more of our daily business involves entering our (hopefully complex enough) passwords online. And, between cloud-based computing and online bill pay, some of us have even gone practically paperless. While this does add an entirely new level of convenience, other than trying to remember the various w3!rd ch@r@cters we use to keep our passwords "strong" enough, it does lead one to wonder if our data is actually safe in the midst of the hacker/leaking onslaught.
It seems like every month (or week), we hear about some new social media privacy dilemma or corporate database hack. We read the headlines and do our best not to panic, whilst entering yet another password into yet another online account. Good grief. Well, Google Chrome wants to help. Yeah, you should google Google on Google.
Google has a Chrome extension available called Password Checkup. So, here's how it works:
So, out there in the "ether," there's a registry of "leaked credentials" of which they keep track. Nice. So, the Password Checkup extension will take your password and username when you are entering them into a login site, and compare it to this list to make sure it's not been compromised. According to Google's corporate blog, this is a list of around four BILLION user name and password combos.
So, one of your first thoughts may be "but wait, doesn't that mean that somehow MY security information will be compromised?" Short-ish answer: That would be a difficult thing for anyone to do. The registry and any of your secure information is seriously encrypted. Like, in various ways involving explanations that, in themselves, sound encrypted.
Although there are definitely plenty of security options out there, one more benefit to Google's extension? It's free. One more? Password Checkup checks your password/user name combos on a regular basis and it's automatic. It seems more likely that you'd be able to find out the moment you've been compromised and fix the problem more quickly. Want more? Check it out at Google's corporate blog. There's a link to download the extension, as well, if you so choose.
Safe surfing, friend.