Google Introduces Password Security Changes

Login credentials remain to be one of the most targeted pieces of information by cybercriminals. Consequently, cybersecurity experts talk more and more about bad password habits and measures that both companies and consumers should take to prevent account hacking. The good news is that such activities encourage organizations like Google to bring more security features like Suggest a strong password for their users. This time, the company added a safety measure called Password Checkup for its built-in password manager available to users of Google accounts. Mainly, it ought to help users understand which of their passwords are weak and how to make them secure. Further, in the article, we discuss what Password Checkup is and its capabilities in more detail. Also, we talk about whether it is safe to store passwords on one’s browser and suggest a safer alternative for those who want to take their password security to the next level.

What is Password Checkup?

Password Checkup is a Google Chrome extension that notifies users about possibly breached passwords and urges to replace them. Recently, Google decided to improve this feature and integrate it into the Google account password manager. Same as the extension, the Password Checkup feature will notify the Google’s built-in password manager users which of their login credentials are compromised and ought to be changed. Also, it ought to warn users when a password they are about to enter is already used on some other account. This may help stop users from reusing passwords, which is extremely risky and, unfortunately, still a widespread practice.

Moreover, Password Checkup should warn users if they are using a combination that is considered to be weak. Of course, recommendations for strong passwords change all the time, and the increasing amount of cybersecurity threats only speeds up this process. Thus, one can only hope that the recommendations given by the Google’s new feature will change accordingly. However, sometimes, it takes years for websites to replace their password guidance practices. Ideally, it would be smartest to follow cybersecurity news on your own and always employ the latest password recommendations despite what a website or an application that are not concentrated on password security might suggest.

Now that you know what Password Checkup is, it is important to say that even with this feature, Google’s built-in password manager might still not be the safest option for users who want to ensure their password security.

What is the difference between a dedicated password manager and a browser password manager?

A dedicated password manager is a tool that was created for a sole purpose of protecting the login credentials saved on it. To ensure protection, such applications provide various safety measures like an encrypted vault, master password requirement, Two-Factor Authentication, and so on. Companies that offer the best-dedicated password managers do not store their users’ data anywhere and cannot access it. Meaning, hackers who may want to gain access to passwords stored on such products would have to attack specific accounts, which might be time-consuming and not as rewarding as attacking a company that has access to huge amounts of sensitive data. Also, one of the best parts about such applications is that they are compatible with major browsers, so you do not have to use a specific browser to be able to log into your accounts.

As for browser password managers, they were created to make logging into accounts faster and easier. In other words, such tools' priority might be not security, but making things more convenient. Cybersecurity specialists still agree that using browser password managers might be riskier than using dedicated tools, even though some browser password managers keep introducing new safety features. That is because hackers often target browsers, and if they succeed in breaching such an application, the security of the data stored on its password manager could be compromised.

Another thing that users who use the Google’s built-in password manager should think about is what could happen to their login credentials if their Google accounts were hacked. Google allows viewing saved passwords either through Google Chrome or the user’s Google account. Therefore, those who choose this kind of a password manager should make sure that they always use the latest Google Chrome version and that they have enabled all available security measures needed to protect their Google account.

Aside from security issues, it is essential to mention that a password manager offered by a browser is an additional feature and not the main product, which means its functionality could be limited compared to dedicated password managers. Google's built-in password manager indeed offers a lot of features, but there are dedicated applications that can still offer more.

How to store your login credentials to take your password security to the next level?

As you can probably guess, we would suggest using a dedicated password manager that could offer more security features and more functions than a browser password manager. If you are looking for a free tool that works on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS, we recommend searching no longer and trying out our Cyclonis Password Manager. Besides keeping your data safe on an encrypted vault that is set up either on a local device or a chosen cloud storage, Cyclonis has many other attractive features to offer.

For instance, it has a feature called Private Notes, which allows saving sensitive information and other passwords, such as your Wi-Fi passcode. Also, if you are wondering whether Cyclonis can help you update old, reused, weak, and potentially compromised passwords, the answer is yes. With our dedicated password manager, you can complete this task easily and with as little effort as possible via its Password Analyzer. For users who might be concerned about their password security, we can tell that our tool uses the 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard, offers Two-Factor Authentication, and has several automatic logout options. To learn more about it, you could continue reading here.

In the end, it is up to you to decide how important your password security is to you and how you choose to ensure it. If you prefer using a browser password manager, it looks like Google’s feature might be your best bet as its developers seem to be concerned about their users’ password security. Admittedly, it is better than storing your passwords on a note or using the same weak password everywhere. On the other hand, if you not only wish to log into your accounts automatically or use strong login credentials but also ensure password security, it might be the time to employ a dedicated password manager.

December 11, 2019

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