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Chrome and Google Assistant Can Now Identify and Change Compromised Passwords
It seems that major data breaches have become commonplace. Chances are fairly good that at least some of your information has been compromised in a breach at one time or another. Now, a new feature that may already be installed on your Android device can let you know if a password you’re using has been compromised in a breach and offer to change it for you automatically.
How it works
For a while now, the Chrome browser on your computer or laptop has had the ability to let you know if credentials you’re using when logging into websites that have previously been compromised in a data breach. In the past, if you received one of these notifications, it was always left up to you to change that password manually. Now, a new update for Android devices is taking things a step farther. If this update has been installed on your Android and Chrome browser identifies a compromised password, Google Assistant may be able to automatically generate a new, secure password and store it for you.
When a compromised password is detected by Chrome on a website compatible with this new functionality, you’ll see a popup letting you know and offering to have the Google Assistant change and store the password. You can either close the popup and make the change, yourself, or click a Change Automatically button. If you allow Google Assistant to do the work for you, a new secure password will be automatically generated and stored in the Chrome password manager app.
The auto change option doesn’t work everywhere
Because it’s new, Google Assistant’s password change functionality currently works only on a small percentage of websites. That will hopefully change in the not-too-distant future as more sites become compatible. If you have the update installed on your Android device and log into a website where you receive a password breach notification, you’ll know by the popup message whether the password can be changed and stored automatically. If it can’t, the popup will include a message advising you to, “Change Password on Website.”
How to check for the update
To find out whether this new Google Assistant update has been installed on your Android device, open the Chrome browser, tap the three dots in the upper right corner, then select settings. Next, tap Passwords. If the update is installed and a website on your list is compatible with this service, you’ll see a Change Password option next to the site’s name.
Does this work with Chrome on an iPhone?
For now, this automatic password change functionality is only available for Android devices. It’s not yet known whether it will eventually be made available for iOS devices. But iPhone users that have Chrome installed can take advantage of the breached password notification capability Chrome provides. Open the Chrome app on your iPhone, tap your image or name in the upper right corner of the screen, then tap Passwords. Tap the Check Now option under Check Passwords.
Google did well when it built into the Chrome browser the ability to notify users when passwords they enter have been compromised. Now, with the new capability of Google Assistant to automatically change and store passwords, they’re taking it a step farther. Hopefully, more sites will soon be added to the list of those compatible with this new functionality. Until then, Chrome users should heed Chrome’s warnings and manually change compromised passwords immediately upon notification.
If you’re not a Chrome user, there is a site you can visit periodically to find out whether your passwords, email address, or phone number have been compromised in a breach. HaveIBeenPwned.com provides an easy-to-use interface that allows you to run searches and to sign up for breach alerts.