By Erin Corbett
May 23, 2018

Data breaches in recent years have impacted billions of Internet users. Email addresses, dates of birth, security questions, and passwords have all been compromised in the process, making it harder for people to know how to keep their information secure, and whether they’re at risk. One of the most important steps toward better online security is making sure passwords are strong and haven’t already been compromised in a data breach.

Just last year, 1.4 billion were hacked and leaked passwords were dumped in an online document for free, making it easier for hackers to access personal online accounts.

To offset the risks that come with a bad password, the cybersecurity firm Okta is offering a free Chrome extension called PassProtect for people to verify whether their passwords have been compromised. The tool automatically checks whether your password has been hacked by verifying it against the Have I Been Pwned? service, a free resource that allows people to check whether their online accounts are at risk or already damaged due to data breaches.

The company described the tool as a “new, experimental way to help individual users play a more active role in protecting their online accounts.”

If the password entered on PassProtect is found to be a match with information on the Pwned database, the extension will warn you that it’s compromised. The tool works automatically when a user tries to sign on to an online account. The warning will also show up if a password is too simple or hasn’t been changed in a while.

PassProtect is an easy way for less tech savvy Internet users to ensure their most basic online safety. “We believe that by informing and guiding users to reset their credentials when necessary, we can all help make the web a safer place,” Okta head Randall Degges explained in an overview of the extension.

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