Simple passwords are easily sniffed out and repetitive credentials can take down an entire digital ecosystem when one account is hacked, but Google is testing enhancements for a Chrome extension that will generate stronger pass codes for users.
Chrome's password generator has been released for quite some time now, but Google's engineers have given the tool a bit more care. The generator's user interface has been cleaned up and a pop-up bubble steps in to offer a strong password whenever a user clicks inside of a "password" field on a sign-up page.
François Beaufort, a "Chromium Evangelist," introduced the features on his Google Plus page.
"Give it a try and go to any 'sign up' page," Beaufort states. "As soon as you focus the password field, a nice overlay will suggest you a strong and pronounceable password that will be saved in your Chrome passwords."
Users interested in giving the enhancements a go can lift the hoods of their Chrome browsers and enable them, using the menu boxes under their flags. Under the "chrome://flags/" address, "#enable-password-generation" users will find the "#enable-save-password-bubble" options.
Individuals uncomfortable with tinkering with Chrome's experimental flags should wait until the features have been rolled out officially, though Google could send the ideas to the scrap bin. There are more established password generators users can install as extensions for Chrome than Google's current offering, though the search engine comnpany, if it chooses to move the tool forward, could raise the bar.
Google's enhancements to its password generator are a timely update, considering rival Apple had its iCloud service breach by hackers who appeared to have been able to suss out celebrities simple and repetitive passwords.
Apple has denied that the hackers exposed a vulnerability in iCloud to steal the passwords and the nude pictures they protected, but the tech firm has acknowledged that it should have had tougher standards for the credentials its services would accept. Apple CEO Tim Cook said his company was just as outraged by the breaches as were the victims.
"When I step back from this terrible scenario that happened and say what more could we have done, I think about the awareness piece," Cook said. "I think we have a responsibility to ratchet that up. That's not really an engineering thing."
Cooks comments were accompanied by a pair of upgrades to iCloud and iTunes' two-step confirmation process and intrusion-notification systems. Cook said the updates would be rolled out in as little as two weeks.