Google Chrome may soon change compromised passwords for you automatically
Google announced today that it is bringing a new security feature to the company's Chrome web browser that informs users about compromised passwords and lets them change these passwords to a secure new password instantly.
Many web browsers introduced and password managers introduced security features in the recent past that inform users about leaked passwords. Google introduced a password checker in Chrome in 2019,Â and has been working on improvements ever since.
All password checkers use a similar system: a database with leaked password hashes is used to find out if one of the user's passwords is on that list. If it is, it is considered compromised and it is then up to the user to change the password. The process is time consuming, especially if a password is reused. Users have to open the website of the service in question, find the password change page, come up with a new password, and save it somehow.
Google made the process easier in recent Chrome releases. A change password link is now available that opens a "standardized password page on the host site. The option to verify passwords for leaks was added to Chrome 88, released in January 2021.
Today's announcement aims to make things even easier, but not for all users of the Chrome web browser and not for all sites. If a site is supported, users are able to change the password directly from within the Google Chrome web browser. Chrome does all the heavy lifting, including selecting a secure password for the account and saving it in Chrome and the linked Google account.
There are some caveats though: first, that sites need to support the feature, and only a few, including Twitter, do at the moment. Second, that it is only available for users signed-in to Chrome and only if password syncing is enabled. Lastly, the feature is rolling out to Chrome on Android users in the United States first. Google plans to launch it in other regions in the coming months.
The feature uses Google's Duplex on the Web technology, which the company introduced in 2019 in Google Assistant to make mundane tasks such as buying movie tickets, flights or ordering food easier.
Google Chrome users who don't sign-in with a Google account or use password syncing won't be able to use the feature.
The new automatic changing of passwords feature makes it easier for Chrome users to change passwords. While limited currently by site and region, it could become a good tool for users to change compromised passwords quickly. Chrome users who prefer to stay in control can do so, for instance by ignoring the feature.
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