A free Google Chrome extension can warn you if your passwords have been hacked - here’s how to get it

This is how to make sure your passwords are safe (Photo: Shutterstock)This is how to make sure your passwords are safe (Photo: Shutterstock)
This is how to make sure your passwords are safe (Photo: Shutterstock)

With so much of our lives revolving around using the internet, be it for work or for leisure, keeping your passwords and account details safe should be a high priority for everyone.

Many websites pose a threat to our online security, but there is an extension from Google Chrome which aims to keep you and your password safe from hackers.

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Password Checkup

The extension is called Password Checkup and it works to keep your online accounts safe from online hackers.

“Whenever you sign in to a site, Password Checkup will trigger a warning if the username and password you use is one of over four billion credentials that Google knows to be unsafe,” a security blog from Google explains.

If your username and password has been deemed as no longer safe, the Password Checkup extension will issue you an alert to change your password. Similarly, if you use the same username and password for any other accounts, you will be urged to change those as well.

The extension was designed by cryptography experts at Stanford University, and it ensures that not even Google itself will learn your username or password. This means that any data breach stays safe from wider exposure.

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How to download the app

You can download the extension from the Google webstore, here.

Simply click the ‘add to chrome’ option and confirm from the pop up that you’d like to add the Password Checkup extension.

Once you’ve done that, the Password Checkup badge will be visible on your browser.

How to create a secure password

Google says that “creating a strong, unique password is one of the most critical steps that you can take to protect your online accounts”.

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It advises that you should do this by using a series of words that you won’t forget, but will make it difficult for others to guess.

Google advises, “Take a long sentence and build a password with the first letters of each word. To make it even stronger, make it at least eight characters long, because the longer your password, the stronger it is.”

You should also avoid using the same password across your accounts, because if someone manages to gain access to one, all your accounts will then be compromised.

If you’re required to create answers for security questions, Google says you should “consider using fake answers to make them even more difficult to guess”.

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