Google released a new stable version of the company’s Chrome web browser to the public this week. Chrome 88 fixed security issues and removed Adobe Flash among other things.
Google improved the browser’s password management capabilities in the release. Chrome users who save passwords in the browser may access two new password management related options in the release.
The first enables users to check for weak passwords. Google does not reveal how Chrome determines that a password is weak; possibilities include comparing password hashes with hashes of leaked passwords, or checking if duplicate passwords are stored.
Chrome users who want to give it a go need to do the following:
- Load chrome://settings/passwords in the browser’s address bar.
- Select the “check passwords” link on the page.
- Chrome opens a new page on which all weak passwords that it detected during the scan are listed.
Information why Chrome considers a password weak is not provided, only that they are “easy to guess”.
Google added the “change password” option to Chrome 86; it opens a standardized change password page on the host site. The site needs to support it to be of any use, as you may get a “not found” error otherwise.
A new feature in Chrome 88 is hidden behind the three-dots menu. Select “edit password” to edit the password directly in the Chrome web browser.
The features are being rolled out over the course of the coming weeks. Some Chrome users will have to wait before it becomes available in the browser.
Chrome users who don’t want to wait can set flags in the browser to enable the functionality:
- Load chrome://flags/#edit-passwords-in-settings and change the state of the flag to Enabled; this enables the password edit option.
- Load chrome://flags/#passwords-weakness-check and change the flag to Enabled; this enables the option to check stored passwords for weaknesses.
A restart of the browser is required.
Google says that its safety check feature resulted in a 37% reduction of compromised credentials in the Chrome browser. The weak password check may help users who save passwords in the browser, provided that they change the passwords that were found to be weak.
Now You: did you check your passwords for weaknesses in the past?