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Security & privacy

Hidden setting in your browser that reveals your hacked passwords

Data leaks can happen at any time. A company could leak your sensitive information by accident or on purpose. Once it’s out there, anyone can put in some work to find it. On the other hand, a data breach is a deliberate attack to steal information.

You or the company that leaked the information/was breached may not even be aware that there’s a problem. Luckily there are ways to check if your credentials have been compromised. Tap or click here to see how.

While you can check up on your status, wouldn’t it be more convenient to get a notification that you may have been exposed? We’ll show you some browser tools that could give you a heads up. Read on for more.

Google Chrome Password Checkup

Let’s start with prevention. A good password is your first line of defense against hacks. It should be random, without any personal references or information. It should be so random that it’s difficult to remember. Tap or click here for five tips on creating a strong password.

Password managers take the guesswork out of coming up with a good one. These programs generate and store your login credentials and can be used on all your devices. You can find password managers built into most popular browsers or access them through a website, third-party program or the cloud.

Google Chrome’s Password Manager has a Password Checkup feature, which not only reviews your saved passwords for their strength, but it also tells you if they’ve been compromised or used by others elsewhere. The tool also gives you advice on what changes to make if needed.

You can access the password manager by going to passwords.google.com. From there, click Password Checkup then Check Passwords.

Firefox Monitor

If you go to monitor.firefox.com, you can plug in your email address to check if you’ve been part of a data breach. You can also check a box that activates email alerts if your info appears in a breach. If you do so, you are taken to a screen where you can create a Firefox account. You don’t need to use the Firefox browser to have access to Firefox Monitor.

You can also scroll down on the Monitor main page and click Sign Up for Alerts to create a Firefox account and get breach alerts. Then it’s up to you if you want to get the browser, Lockwise password manager, or Mozilla VPN. Tap or click here to check out the fastest VPN we’ve tried.

Microsoft Edge Password Monitor

Microsoft’s Edge browser has a Password Monitor that checks the passwords you’ve stored in its password managers against a database of known leaked passwords.

If any of your username/password pairs come up, you’ll see them by going to Settings and more > Settings > Profiles > Passwords > Password Monitor. If you see any there, change them immediately. The password manager can help you pick strong ones.

To turn on the Password Monitor, open Edge and go to  Settings and more > Settings  > Profiles > Passwords and then turn on Show alerts when passwords are found in an online leak.

Apple Safari Password Monitoring

Apple’s Safari browser stores your confidential information in a password manager called Keychain, which you can access from your iOS device or iCloud. With password monitoring, Safari checks your saved Keychain passwords against a publicly available list of breached passwords to see if you have been compromised. If this is the case, your device will notify you.

Password monitoring is on by default if you’re using iOS 14. You can go to Safari > Preferences > Passwords to see a list of your saved and unsaved website logins.

Look under Security Recommendations for a warning if one or more passwords were involved in a data breach. If so, click the link to go to the website and change the password. Tap or click here for information on new malware that is going after passwords and messaging contacts.

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