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How to use Google's new Password Checkup tool

A simple extension lets you know when you need to change your password.

It seems like every other week there's some sort of database breach or leak of usernames, passwords and other personal information. Keeping up with which services have leaked what information is intimidating and takes a lot of time. 

Thankfully services like 1Password's Watchtower, Have I Been Pwned?, and now Google's Password Checkup tool exist. Password Checkup was announced by Google on Tuesday and is available right now for Chrome users. 

google-password-check
Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Setup is easy -- you only need to install the Password Checkup extension from the Chrome Web Store. With the extension added to Chrome, it will constantly monitor anytime you log into a site or service, and if it detects a password that's been leaked, you will see a bright red warning box pop up suggesting you change your password. 

password-checker-leaked-password
Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

If you don't want to see an alert for a specific site, you can ignore it and the extension will quit reminding you to change your password. You can clear your preferences for ignored sites by clicking on the extension icon, then going to Advanced Settings. 

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One thing that would be nice to add to the extension is a link in the warning dialogue that takes you directly to the respective service's page for changing your account password. Doing so would eliminate the process of the user finding the correct page to change their password instead of just providing a warning   The "Learn More" link in the warning prompt (seen above) takes you to this Google support page

password-checkup-reminder
Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

If you happen to miss the warning, the Password Checkup's icon will turn and stay red, instead of green. You can then go to the website by clicking on the link, or ignore the warning if you've already changed your password.