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Chrome just got an awesome password security feature you need to use right now

Published Jan 20th, 2021 6:50AM EST
Chrome 88 Download
Image: Google

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  • Google just released Chrome 88, a browser update that brings over several useful changes, including a new password security feature that everyone managing passwords with Chrome should check out.
  • Chrome will tell users which passwords were hacked and which are weak, providing a direct link to change them.
  • Each website and online service should have an original, strong password to reduce hacking risks. Password managers like Chrome’s can help users remember passwords and autofill them where appropriate.

One online account, one original password. That should be your mantra for everything that requires you to generate a user and password combination for websites, mobile apps, and any other internet service that requires authentication. Sadly, many people recycle passwords across various services and/or use weak passwords to protect their sensitive personal data, and we’ve all been there. The problem with this approach is that hackers only need to hack one internet service or site. They’ll then try the same user/password combinations across websites, and that’s how they might access your most sensitive properties and impact your finances in the process.

It might be super annoying to change all the weak, repetitive password you use for the dozens of services, but it should be done sooner than later. The new password needs to be as long as possible, too, even if it’s hard to remember. Thankfully, there are password managers to help with that: they remember all your passwords for you and fill them in whenever you need them. Google’s Chrome browser happens to be one of the easiest ways to store and manage passwords, and Google has just made a huge update to the service. After downloading the Chrome 88 update, you’ll get new functionality to assist you with password security.

Once you’ve updated Chrome, you should immediately tap on your profile image in the top right corner to fix your passwords. Tap on the key symbol, and then go to the Check passwords option.

Animation shows how Chrome 88 will mark hacked and weak passwords, allowing users to quickly make changes. Image source: Google

You’ll be taken to a new screen where Google will tell you which passwords have been compromised in previous hacks and which passwords are weak. Google isn’t the first company to offer this functionality, but Chrome also offers a link to the site where you can change your password in the same menu, as seen in the animation above.

The whole process is easier than ever, and you should take your time fixing all the passwords that have issues, especially the ones that were hacked in the past.

The same feature is available on iPhone and iPad if you use Chrome on iOS. Google said in a blog post that the password security feature would also come to the Android version of Chrome in the future. Google also explained that Chrome’s Safety Check tool is used 14 million times every week, leading to a 37% reduction in compromised credentials in Chrome.

Chrome 88 isn’t just about security. The update brings over several changes, including better light and dark themes for Windows 10 and Chrome OS, less intrusive prompts for asking for permissions, and tab search. The new Chrome version will not support FTP URLs, Mac OS X Yosemite, and legacy browser add-ons. Once you get Chrome 88, some of the new features will be available immediately, while others might need to be enabled from the Settings menu — HowToGeek has a handy overview of Chrome 88.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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