Google Chrome might finally secure its passwords soon

If the open-source Chromium browser is any indication, Google Chrome might finally be getting a setting to secure its users' saved account passwords from prying eyes.

If the open-source Chromium browser is any indication, Google Chrome might finally be getting a setting to secure its users' saved account passwords from prying eyes.

Click on any password in Chrome's settings menu to see it uncensored. (Screenshot by Campbell Simpson/CNET Australia)

Google copped flak earlier this year for storing users' passwords for website log-ins in plain text in Chrome, meaning anyone using a computer could view the details for any stored log-ins. It didn't even allow a master password to be set as a gatekeeper before viewing the passwords list, and the passwords themselves were easily accessible through the Chrome settings menu.

Google's response was to say that locking your user account, rather than Chrome, was the simplest and safest solution. This is true, but an additional layer of security certainly wouldn't hurt.

There is a solution on the way, however. The open-source Chromium browser for Windows, Mac and Linux is regularly updated with new features in testing, and almost all of them make their way reasonably quickly into Google Chrome, which is based on Chromium.

According to Ars Technica, the latest incarnation of Chromium for Mac includes an option to enable a prompt for the user's Mac OS X account password before displaying passwords saved within the browser. OS X has better password integration than Windows, often prompting before installing new software or updates, but Windows has a possible solution in Windows 7 and 8's User Account Control, or a master Chrome password might be used.

Of course, if you're already logged in to someone's personal computer account and are able to access Google Chrome, it's likely you've already got access to a swathe of other compromising information. That's no excuse for not requiring a master password or at least another level of security before displaying sensitive data, though, so hopefully Google updates Chrome soon.

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