Google Warns Users About Billions of Hacked Passwords


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Image about Google Warns Users About Billions of Hacked Passwords
Google Warns Users About Billions of Hacked Passwords

Story:

Google Warns Billions of User Passwords have been Hacked – Check yours now!

Facts Analysis:

On 15th August 2019, Google security blog posted an update on new research about lessons from a Password Checkup in action. Google says hundreds of thousands of people are using Passwords already hacked through third-party data breach. After a case-study teaming up with the University of California, Google revealed in 2017 how hijackers steal billions of passwords and other sensitive data from black market. So, let us examine the security concerns and learn why Google asked users to check if your passwords are hacked.

Why Google Warns to Check Hacked Passwords

In February 2019, Google launched a ‘Password Checkup’ extension for the Chrome web browser in order to help keep all your online accounts safe from hijacking. The extension shows a warning whenever you sign in to a website using one of over 4-Billion publicly-accessible usernames and passwords that have been hacked. The Password Checkup extension will flag unsafe passwords, prompting you to change them when necessary.

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In the first month alone, the ‘Password Checkup’ Chrome extension found 1.5 percent of all website logins use compromised credentials. Notably, this figure is higher for porn websites. Moreover, a study revealed users more often re-use vulnerable passwords on Government, Financial, Email, Shopping, News and Entertainment websites. Clearly, this is an unsafe practice putting your sensitive information at risk.

What You Can Do

  • Firstly, to stay safe, change your log-in details and use strong, unique passwords for all your accounts. This way the risk of hacking and compromising disappears.
  • The new Google study confirmed the obvious – internet users should stop using the same password for multiple websites. Hackers buy huge lists of such compromised passwords from lots of different sites because people often re-use them.
  • In case of difficulty remembering and creating different strong passwords, you can use and take help of a Password Manager.
  • For help in keeping all your online accounts safe from hijacking, you can install the Google’s Password Checkup Extension from the Chrome web store.
  • Alternatively, you can also use popular web-tool ‘Have I Been Pwned‘ to check if you have ever been hacked.
  • Experts suggest users to take advantage of two factor authentication service wherever available.
  • Lastly, be careful with scams stealing passwords like through phishing emails using names of well-known online service providers.
Image of How to use Google's 'Password Checkup' extension for Chrome web browser
How to use Google’s ‘Password Checkup’ extension for Chrome web browser

References:

New Research: Lessons from Password Checkup in action
Google warns billions of passwords have been hacked – how to check yours now


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Prashanth Damarla
Debunker

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