Chrome Just Upped Its Game on Protecting Your Passwords

Google may not always live up to its "Don't be evil" motto (which it's actually removed from the company's code of conduct). But when it does do good, it does good pretty well. After preemptively filtering out the internet's most obnoxious ads for users, Google's Chrome browser is now offering some pretty sophisticated privacy protection.

We're all aware of the ubiquity of data breaches. Hacks are just a part of online life these days. Perhaps most of all, companies are creating pathways between each other that make your personal data vulnerable. That's what makes Google's Password Checkup extension so valuable.

This free, unobtrusive add-on looks at your username and password whenever you enter it and checks them against a massive database of stolen credentials. ("Massive" might be an understatement — we're talking more than 4 billion individual entries here.) If the extension finds a match, you get an alert suggesting that you should change your password. It's like an automatic visit to the very useful Have I Been Pwned?

If all this sounds like a privacy nightmare waiting to happen, Google gets out in front of that argument: According to an official blog post, "Password Checkup was designed jointly with cryptography experts at Stanford University to ensure that Google never learns your username or password, and that any breach data stays safe from wider exposure."

Your stolen data can do a lot of work online, and it's not even enriching the people who stole it that much, when you look at how much trouble it can cause for you. Any chance you can take to sidestep the possibility is one worth taking.