On Safer Internet Day, that took place on 5 February 2019, Google Chrome, in collaboration with cryptographists from Stanford University, released a new extension named ‘Password Checkup’. THe extension checks username and password combinations entered in login pages to be placed in a Google database of four billion credentials compromised in data breaches. The extension is aimed to mitigate negative consequences of massive breaches like Collection #1. Password Checkup will not alert a user when they use unsafe and simple passwords, but when the username and password have been previously breached. Moreover, the extension is designed in a way that Google does not learn user passwords and keeps the breached credential database protected.
Cybersecurity is among the main concerns of governments, Internet users, technical and business communities. Cyberthreats and cyberattacks are on the increase, and so is the extent of the financial loss.
Yet, when the Internet was first invented, security was not a concern for the inventors. In fact, the Internet was originally designed for use by a closed circle of (mainly) academics. Communication among its users was open.
Cybersecurity came into sharper focus with the Internet expansion beyond the circle of the Internet pioneers. The Internet reiterated the old truism that technology can be both enabling and threatening. What can be used to the advantage of society can also be used to its disadvantage.