By Ron Howells • 05 October 2021 • 20:20
Google has warned its users that BILLIONS of their account passwords have been hacked.
Google has alerted users that billions of passwords for online accounts have leaked to the web. However, there is a free handy tool (extension) that allows users of its Chrome web browser to quickly check if their online credentials are compromised.
The tool is called Password Checkup and is a free add-on for Chrome released in 2019 in an attempt to boost users’ online security. It works by scanning known databases of usernames and passwords that have been stolen from websites by hackers and made available online.
Password Checkup encourages you to change your usernames and passwords if they’ve been leaked by hackers and is worth running even if your account has not been hacked.
“Since launch, our early experiment has involved over 650,000 people. In the first month alone, we scanned 21 million usernames and passwords and flagged over 316,000 as insecure – 1.5% of logins verified by the extension,” explained Google’s Jennifer Pullman in 2019.
Google has warned users before about compromised passwords so is a good idea to heed these warnings. Many users find strong self-generated passwords often turn into a fog of forgotten letter combinations and phrases.
However, the most common problem is weak passwords, exposing you to hackers after a major data breach (think: Equifax and Facebook data breaches).
And a weak password isn’t necessarily an easy-to-remember phrase like “bob123” but it can also be a strong password that’s being reused across multiple accounts and sites. The point is that if a password is exposed in a data breach then hackers can potentially get into those other accounts.
Even passwords with small variations across different applications can be risky as hackers will try discovered passwords on Hotmail, Gmail, Netflix and even Spotify accounts.
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Ron actually started his working career as an Ophthalmic Technician- things changed when, during a band rehearsal, his amplifier blew up and he couldn’t get it fixed so he took a course at Birmingham University and ended up doing a degree course. He built up a chain of electronics stores and sold them as a franchise over 35 years ago. After five years touring the world Ron decided to move to Spain with his wife and son, a place they had visited over the years, and only bought the villa they live in because it has a guitar-shaped swimming pool!.
Playing the guitar since the age of 7, he can often be seen, (and heard!) at beach bars and clubs along the length of the coast. He has always been interested in the news and constantly thrives to present his articles in an interesting and engaging way.
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