One of the most innovative cyber security tools that is simple and effective was released by Google recently, and it’s called “Password Alert”. In simple terms, because there isn’t really a fancy term here, it’s an extension equipped with a math algorithm that detects your Gmail password when it is used ANYWHERE outside Google. Interesting, right? But what’s more interesting is the simplicity of this extension and how it really is a very efficient tool that helps to stay safe online.
What are Phishing attacks?
Phishing attacks are known as a type of a cybercrime where an organization, a group, or even an individual aims to make an e-mail very legitimate in its appearance such that it impersonates a website you visit in order to trick you into giving up personal information or download malware.
Research has shown that millions of e-mails are sent every day that actually pass the filtering system of email providers such as Hotmail, Yahoo, and even Google. Out of these e-mails, 14% are clicked and even looking into content to download attachments that are fake and lead to creating vulnerabilities for your system and your information.
The inception of Google’s Password Alert
Over 4 years of internal testing the application, Google’s aim has been to improve internal security as well as assess vulnerability points in regard to its own employees. Google’s product manager Justin Kosslyn explains that the application was started off to help understand penetration testing better within the company, however, it has had a high success rate so that the team decided to take it public.
How does Google’s Password Alert for cybersecurity work?
According to Kosslyn, the program works similarly to a spellchecker. It actually stores a partial of the password securely that helps trigger the alarm when your password is used outside Gmail. Furthermore, the extension has almost no effect on the workload of the browser, which is another fascinating feature that Google always tends to strictly strive for.
The extension should not be mistaken for a tool that helps to stay anonymous online although that is a helpful feature when browsing the web and in that case here are 10 tips to stay anonymous online.
Setting it up
Setting up is easy just like any other Google extension:
- Download the extension safely through the Chrome Web Store
- Allow the extension to install after it requests Gmail identification regardless if you’re logged in
- The extension is then set up and automatically supervises your account password for you
What does this mean for my passwords?
It is understandable and well expected that almost everyone uses similar passwords, if not the same ones, for most of our online accounts. However, the way this extension is thought out is that most accounts online are recovered by using an e-mail provider where the reset password link is sent to, and normally this is your default e-mail account and in this case should be Gmail.
On the downside, for some of you this means that your Gmail account MUST have a different password than any other account, almost functioning like a Master Password when it comes to protecting your online activities linked to your Gmail account. Naturally, as a suggestion, it would be extremely helpful that a Gmail password is used separately from other passwords while one can still use similar passwords for the rest of the online activities.
To conclude, the extension is expected to greatly reduce phishing risks especially for users who constantly surf the web. Google’s Password Alert for cybersecurity seems like a very nice and simple application that is powered solely by an innovative yet powerful idea. Google’s goals for the future of the extension is to take it further by releasing support for other browsers, and even perhaps making it an outside-of-browser application as well.