Google knows if your passwords were hacked

Google is attempting to make Chrome users more secure with the release of a new extension that automatically checks to see if the passwords you are using are safe. It’s called Password Checkup and it launched today.

It doesn’t matter how strong a password is, if the account your are protecting suffers a data breach it could end up in the hands of hackers. Keeping track of which data breaches affect you is difficult, and it’s why password managers started getting popular and offering to automatically update passwords for you on a regular basis. A good example of that is LastPass.

Now Google is making Chrome users more secure if they take the time to install a new, free extension called Password Checkup. Once installed, it will check every time you sign in to an account using a username and password. If the password used appears on any data breach lists the user will receive an alert urging them to reset the password. If the same password is used for other accounts then an alert will be sent for those, too.

Google is making it very clear that using Password Checkup does not share any identifying information about users, their accounts, passwords, or devices. The only information shared is anonymous and regarding the number of lookups that return an unsafe set of credentials. In other words, there’s no real downside to installing the extension and helping protect your online accounts.

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A new Google tool tells you if your password is unsafe

San Francisco (CNN Business)There is a good chance hackers already know your favorite passwords. Now Google has a new free tool to let you know when your login information is exposed.

People who use Google Chrome can download the Password Checkup extension, which will monitor their various website logins. When someone logs in with a username and password that Google knows has been compromised, it triggers a warning that prompts the user to change the password.
Google (GOOG) cross-checks the login credentials against a regularly updated database of more than four billion username and password entries that it has collected from sources such as password dumps. Hackers responsible for data breaches on sites like Yahoo or LinkedIn sometimes post large databases of people's usernames and passwords online. Because many people use the same passwords across sites, bad actors could try to use the information to gain access to other accounts.
The extension, which is only available on Chrome browsers, was designed with cryptography experts at Stanford University and Google. The users' passwords and usernames will be encrypted so Google won't actually be able to see them itself.
    Google can already automatically reset people's passwords for Google apps and sites when it determines they may have been exposed. The new feature won't be able to automatically reset passwords for non-Google services, but it is one way to make those accounts more secure.
    While the extension is new to Chrome, there are several other similar services available. Password managers like Dashlane and 1Password will monitor logins and inform people when their credentials have been compromised.

    Data privacy drama can’t stop Google. Ad business soars 20%

    How Google got its start


      How Google got its start


    How Google got its start 01:47

    New York (CNN Business)Google’s ad sales machine is still going strong even as regulators and consumers scrutinize the tech industry’s data-privacy practices.

    Alphabet (GOOGL), the parent company of Google, said its total revenue for the final three months of 2018 was $ 39.3 billion, an increase of 22% from the same period a year earlier, according to a company earnings report released Monday.
    The growth, which was better than expected, was fueled in large part by Google’s advertising business, which accounted for $ 32.6 billion of Alphabet’s overall revenue — up 20% from $ 27.2 billion in the year prior.
    But the company is also paying more to support its advertising business. Alphabet said its traffic and acquisition cost — the money it pays to companies to run its ads and services — was $ 7.4 billion during the quarter, up from $ 6.5 billion a year ago.
      Alphabet stock fell about 2% in after hours trading Monday following the earnings report.
      The earnings report caps off what was a challenging end to 2018 for the company.
      In the final three months of 2018, Google’s CEO was grilled by Congress about data privacy, its employees around the world walked out over sexual harassment scandals, and it disclosed a security bug impacting its largely forgotten social network, Google Plus.
      Yet, the biggest issue for Google right now might not be regulatory risks so much as its own ongoing effort to diversity its revenue streams amid competition from other large technology companies.
        Facebook and Google have been the two dominant forces in digital advertising for years, but now Amazon is quickly ramping up its own advertising business. Google also finds itself a distant third to Amazon and Microsoft in the fast-growing cloud computing market.
        Google’s other revenues, which include hardware sales and cloud computing, rose to $ 6.5 billion for the quarter from just shy of $ 5 billion a year ago.

        Google has more than $100 billion in cash. It’s time to pay a dividend

        New York (CNN Business)Google owner Alphabet ended the third quarter with more than $ 106 billion in cash.

        But when Alphabet (GOOGL) releases its latest results after the closing bell Monday, investors probably won't hear about plans to use any of that cash to pay a dividend.
        That may be holding back the stock.
        Alphabet is still growing rapidly. Analysts expect earnings growth of about 13% for 2019 and a sales increase of 20%. But the stock has still lagged many other big tech companies over the past year. Offering a dividend could be a way to reward patient investors with more cash.
          Shares of Alphabet are flat during the past 12 months while Apple (AAPL) and Microsoft (MSFT) -- which do pay a dividend -- are up 5% and 13% respectively. Alphabet has also underperformed when compared to more rapidly growing fellow FAANG stocks Amazon (AMZN) and Netflix (NFLX), which don't pay dividends.
          Alphabet was not immediately available for comment for this story. But the company has repeatedly told investors they should not expect a dividend anytime soon.
          The company said in its 2017 annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that "we intend to retain any future earnings and do not expect to pay any cash dividends in the foreseeable future."
          Still, tech companies can pay dividends and use some of their giant piles of cash for investments.
          Apple's stock stumbled lately because of concerns about slowing iPhone sales. But shares have more than doubled since the company began paying a dividend in March 2012. That's better than the S&P 500's gains during the same period.
          Microsoft has been reinvigorated over the past few years thanks to the cloud-focused strategy of CEO Satya Nadella. Shares are just 10% from the all-time high they hit last year.
          Cisco (CSCO) and Oracle (ORCL) pay dividends that have outperformed the broader market over the past year.
            So it might be time for Alphabet to give some of its nine-figure cash hoard back to investors.
            The company could pay a dividend and still have plenty of money left over to keep buying back stock, invest in research and development and make acquisitions. Just ask Microsoft and Apple.

            Google earnings; Sears in court; Panasonic and China

            London (CNN Business)1. Google earnings: Alphabet (GOOGL), the parent company of Google, will report results for the final three months of 2018 after the closing bell.

            Analysts are expecting sales growth of 20% over the previous year. That would require a strong performance from Google's massive advertising business.
            Google suffered a series of PR snafus at the end of last year that helped push its stock lower. Congress grilled its CEO over data privacy, employees walked out over sexual harassment scandals and it disclosed a security bug.
            Shares in Google are now trading just above their level from a year ago.
              2. The fate of Sears: The moment of truth has arrived for Sears (SHLDQ), once the United States' largest and most important retailer.
              US Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert Drain is due to hold a hearing starting Monday on Sears' plan to sell its assets, including 425 stores, to its chairman Eddie Lampert. It is the only chance to save the jobs of up to 45,000 employees of the Sears and Kmart chains and keep the 133-year old retailer in business.
              Lampert's rescue bid is opposed by creditors, including vendors and landlords, who argue that the company should be shut down and liquidated.
              Sears hopes to have a decision approving the sale by February 8, and that it hopes to close the sale by February 19.
              3. China troubles: Panasonic (PCRFF) is being hurt by an economic slowdown in China and friction caused by a trade war between Washington and Beijing.
              The Japanese electronics company cut its operating profit outlook for the current fiscal year to 385 billion yen ($ 3.5 billion) from 425 billion yen ($ 3.8 billion). It also reported a sharp drop in third quarter operating profit.
              Panasonic said that some of its key businesses have been hurt by weaker demand in China. It said sales from its industrial business unit decreased "due mainly to trade friction between US and China."
              It's not the first victim: Apple (AAPL) previously warned about weaker iPhone sales in China. Tire maker Goodyear (GT) and FedEx (FDX) have also said that softness in China was hurting their profits.
              4. Global market overview: US stock futures were flat.
              European markets opened mixed, following the trend set in Asia. Markets in mainland China are closed this week for a holiday.
              The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 0.3% on Friday. The S&P 500 added 0.1% and the Nasdaq shed 0.3%.
              5. Earnings and economics: Clorox (CLX) and Sysco (SYY) will release earnings before the open.
              Shares in Ryanair (RYAAY) dropped 4% after the airline reported a €19.6 million ($ 22.4 million) net loss for the holiday quarter.
                The discount airline also announced a change to its corporate structure. Veteran boss Michael O'Leary will become group CEO, and each of the company's four airlines will have its own chief executive.
                6. Coming this week:
                Monday — Alphabet and Ryanair (RYAAY) earnings; markets in mainland China are closed all week
                Tuesday — The State of the Union address; Disney, 21st Century Fox, Snap (SNAP) and Electronic Arts (EA) earnings
                Wednesday — GM (GM), Chipotle (CMG), Toyota (TM), Humana (HUM), Eli Lilly (LLY), The New York Times and Spotify (SPOT) earnings; the Cayman Alternative Investment Summit begins
                Thursday — Twitter (TWTR), Yum! Brands (YUM), Kellogg (K), Philip Morris International (PM), MetLife (MET), Mattel (MAT), T-Mobile (TMUS), News Corp (NWS) and Dunkin Brands (DNKN) earnings
                Friday — Hasbro (HAS), Phillips 66 (PSX) earnings

                Policing smartphones, big money from Google and more: Tech Q&A

                Law Enforcement and Your Phone

                Q: Is it true that the cops can force you to unlock your iPhone? This act seems like a violation of my rights.

                A: Tech changes fast, and the judicial branch is struggling to keep up. This stalemate society often runs into: Most of us want to feel safe in public, and we want law enforcement to be as sophisticated as the cyber-criminals and terrorists who exist among us. At the same time, we don’t want any police officer rummaging through our personal data without probable cause. In short, the police can’t necessarily force you to unlock your smartphone, but it’s important to learn your exact rights. Tap or click here to hear my take on a federal judge’s ruling.

                Turn Off Targets Amazon Ads

                Q: I noticed the ads I get on my Amazon Fire are a little personal, which is embarrassing when the family is watching. Can I turn those ads off?

                A: Amazon has become the dark horse of targeted advertising, and it can become uncomfortable. Unlike Google, which tracks searches and other data, Amazon is exclusively interested in your purchasing habits, which may or may not reflect the “real you.” Just like Google, Amazon has a dense network of personalized settings, and you can manipulate almost any feature. Some of these are parental controls and using your photos as screensavers. But one option may appeal to you in particular: the ability to turn off targeted advertising. Tap or click here for five Fire TV Stick tricks you’ll use time and time again.

                Make Serious Money with Google Ads

                Q: I have Google Ads on my website. I heard you say I can increase the revenues by 30%. How do I do that!?!

                A: Anybody can place a Google Ad and pay a pittance to reach thousands – or even millions – of people. You can modify target demographics to reach a precise audience, or you can cast a wide net and hope your product appears in front of the right people. The real pros can combine the Google Ad interface with thoughtful marketing, then target specific users and offer them special incentives. Running Google Ads on a website to make money is both science and art, and there are many tricks to the trade. Tap or click here to make 30 percent more revenue using this secret strategy.

                Get More iPhone Storage Space

                Q: I have run out of storage space on my iPhone. Now what?

                A: Store enough apps, movies, and photos, and you’re bound to run out of space. The easiest way to free up your storage is to remove media that you don’t use, such as movies you’ve downloaded but already watched, podcasts you’ve saved but have already listened to, plus audiobooks and other large-format files. You’ll also want to save your photos and videos to your iCloud account. Then what? There are so many things you still want to keep because you cherish those apps and use them every day. The time may have come to make some hard choices, but there may be alternative programs that are a little leaner. Tap or click here for apps that take up less space on your iPhone.

                Slash Cell Bills

                Q: My cell phone bill is crazy high. How can I lower it?

                A: Unlimited plans, often without contracts or hidden fees, have become an attractive option for people who are fed up. How do you find these plans? There is at least one website that will help you figure out exactly the plan you’re looking for, based on your needs and interests (and budget). At the same time, many similar sites use clever criteria to find you bargains you never knew existed. Tap or click here for seven sites that will save you a ton of money.

                What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call her national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen or watch to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

                Copyright 2019, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.

                Learn about all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at

                Google Doodle honors abolitionist Sojourner Truth

                Sojourner Truth was an abolitionist and women's rights activist who advocated for racial equality in the US.

                Sojourner Truth was an abolitionist and women's rights activist who advocated for racial equality in the US.

                (CNN)Sojourner Truth, a preacher, abolitionist and women’s rights activist, became one of the most significant figures in African-American history after traveling extensively across the US to speak about the evils of the slave trade and social injustices.

                Friday’s Google Doodle, designed by Philadelphia-based artist Loveis Wise, honors the legacy of Truth and her fight for racial equality and justice in the US.
                “As a black woman, illustrating Sojourner Truth was especially personal and meaningful to me,” Wise told Google. “Her journey and persistence inspired major change in both rights for enslaved African-Americans and women. Her history is deeply rooted to my ancestors and others around the world.”
                The Google Doodle dedicated to Sojourner Truth by artist Loveis Wise

                The Google Doodle dedicated to Sojourner Truth by artist Loveis Wise

                Truth, whose birth name was Isabella Baumfree, was born into slavery on the estate of Col. Johannes Hardenbergh around 1797. She was sold for the first time at the age of nine, before being sold twice more in the space of two years. She was bought by her final master, John Dumont, in 1810.
                  Truth endured years of hardship and recalled suffering daily beatings after being sold to her first master, John Neely, in 1806.
                  While enslaved by Dumont, Truth fell in love with a slave named Robert from a neighboring farm. The union was banned by Robert’s masters, who did not want him to have children from whom they could not benefit. Both Robert and Truth subsequently married fellow slaves from their respective farms, and Truth went on to have five children.
                  After enduring years of slavery — even seeing her own children being sold into servitude — Truth eventually gained her freedom.
                  Dumont agreed to grant Truth her freedom in 1826 — prior to New York’s emancipation of July 1827, which ended slavery in the state — but later rescinded his offer. Truth accordingly liberated herself, fleeing Dumont’s farm in the early hours of the morning with her infant daughter.
                  While she was pursued by Dumont, she took refuge in the home of abolitionists, the Van Wagenens. They helped Truth launch a landmark lawsuit, suing a white slave owner to be reunited with her son, who had been illegally sold.
                  Truth moved to New York City in 1829 and became connected to Christian evangelist Elijah Pierson, for whom she worked as a housekeeper.
                  She subsequently left New York in 1843, became a Methodist and changed her name to Sojourner Truth. She joined the Northampton Association of Education and Industry — an abolitionist and suffragist organization — in 1844, where she met activists including William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass, who encouraged her to speak out about the suffering she had endured.
                  She published her memoir, The Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Northern Slave, in 1850, and gained national acclaim as a speaker, delivering dozens of speeches and lectures on women’s rights and abolitionism. A year later, she delivered her famous “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech in Akron, Ohio, in which she advocated for equal human rights for women as well as African-Americans.
                    During the American Civil War, she supported black regiments by collecting food and supplies, and she was received by Abraham Lincoln at the White House in 1864.
                    The US Treasury has said that Truth will feature on the $ 10 bill, alongside other suffragists, in 2020.

                    7 ways to search without using Google

                    Google isn’t everything. Yes, it’s the most powerful search engine ever created. Yes, it processes 40,000 searches per second. And yes, Google is the go-to search engine for the majority of us.

                    There are many Google resources that most people don’t know about, including Google’s advanced search features that let you narrow searches by time, file type and website type.

                    Still, Google doesn’t know everything, and there are some resources that are actually better than Google at finding certain information. Some sites index streaming movies, others archive GIFs. Other search engines may not have the omniscience of Google, but they are far more committed to your privacy.

                    Speaking of privacy, you can use Google Take Out to find out how much Google knows about you, and how much of your personal information is being tracked.

                    Related: Looking to cut your big-data ties? Tap or click here for a free productivity suite that can replace Microsoft Office.

                    For those special searches, here are seven search sites you can use other than Google. These services cover a range of themes and needs, but you’re almost guaranteed to find one useful – and you might find yourself consulting it over and over. The best part: They’re basically all free.

                    1. Find streaming movies

                    The internet is overflowing with streaming services, and yet the question always comes up: what should we watch tonight? Sometimes we browse through the options, seeking a few favorite classics, or this year’s Oscar nominees, but we have to bounce from platform to platform just to find the title we’re looking for.

                    There’s a search engine that will do the work for you. It’s called JustWatch. This free website combs through streaming sites, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, HBO, YouTube, iTunes, Roku and Vudu, and it will show where a particular movie is available to stream (free or otherwise).

                    Related: Back from the dead. Hollywood spends major cash to resurrect entertainers for movies and concerts. Tap or click here to learn more about how they are doing it.

                    You can fine-tune and filter the results any way you like — by year, rating, price, genre, quality and age rating. This is extra useful if you’re wondering if a movie or TV show is something you can get for free on other streaming sites. JustWatch’s timeline shows you what’s new on any particular service at any given time. JustWatch isn’t limited to home streaming services. It can help you find all the latest theater movies, and give you summaries, show trailers and buy tickets.

                    A similar service is GoWatchIt, which boasts 2.5 million movies and 50,000 regular users. The page is attractive and easy to use, and like its rival, GoWatchIt uses your location to determine which content is available in your region.

                    2. Find GIFs for email and social media

                    The right GIF is worth a thousand words. Unlike a photo, a GIF is like a tiny video – an animation, a clip from a movie, or a piece of news footage. GIFs often express an emotion or sentiment that no single photo or verbal comment can. Most of the time, GIFs are spit-take funny.

                    Social media service like Facebook and Twitter make GIFs easy to track down, but for the full catalog, Giphy is the place to go. The site is packed with easy-to-find GIFs: just enter your keyword in the search bar and zillions of GIFs pop up. Like any online search, broad topics are more fruitful than obscure ones; you’ll find plenty of GIFs for “balloon,” but few for “supernumerary.”

                    To share, click on the GIF that you want, find the “Copy link” button on the right pane, and choose the format. A short GIF link works best, because you can copy and paste the link to pretty much anywhere. Even better, via Giphy’s iOS or Android app, you can instantly share any GIF via text messaging, Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter.

                    3. Search space images

                    No matter how old we get, the sky will always enthrall us, especially at night. This fascination led the U.S. government to create NASA in the 1950s, and to this day, the agency continues to shed light on outer space. But short of actually leaving the Earth’s atmosphere, the best way to explore the cosmos is through online videos.

                    The NASA Image Library has pictures across 60 collections combined into one searchable database. This is convenient because you don’t have to hop from page to page just to zero in on what you’re looking for.

                    Whether you search for pictures of our solar system, far-off galaxies or the moon landings, you can browse through NASA images – and you can download the images for free, share them on social media sites or publish them for your purposes, as all this digital content is in the public domain.

                    4. Free software for coders and developers

                    Most people will not appreciate the glory of, but coders and software developers definitely will: The website lists thousands of pieces of open-source software. These packages and tools are free to the public, and you can use for them for any programming project. The site has a wide selection of package managers including WordPress, PyPi, Rubygems, Atom and Platform IO.

                    A account also alerts you to software updates and sends notifications about incompatibility and dependency issues.

                    5. Make money using a search site

                    Microsoft developed its own search engine, Bing, as a direct competitor to Google. Nobody is going to pretend that Bing has the popularity or reach of Google, but the free service is still very powerful, and there is even an incentive to use it: Microsoft will pay and reward you for your web searches. Go to to sign up.

                    How does it work? The system is called Microsoft Rewards, which pays users in the form of Amazon, Starbucks, Burger King, Xbox, Microsoft Store or other types of gift cards, as well as sweepstakes entries. Related: Looking for ways to make money online? Listen to this Komando on Demand Podcast for legitimate opportunities.

                    After signing up for a Microsoft account, sign into Bing using the account and begin searching to earn reward points. The system then tracks your points in the upper-right part of the screen, so you can keep track of your earnings while you do what you normally do anyway: search with Bing.

                    6. Private search engine

                    At first glance, looks a lot like Google. It has the same search field, and the same bolded and underlined websites pop up, arranged by relevance and popularity. You may not notice a difference, except for the color scheme and the absence of Google Doodles.

                    But StartPage is designed to retain your privacy. The engine doesn’t collect data, doesn’t keep tabs on your movements, and it isn’t owned by a gigantic corporation. The site is designed to retain privacy, yet it retains much of the power and ease of use that Google does.

                    If you like StartPage, you can open an account and use its free email service. This is a terrific option for people who use search engines for very basic research and are concerned about exposing their personal information.

                    7. Search without being tracked by Google

                    Similar to StartPage, the purpose of DuckDuckGo is to retain privacy. The company proudly abstains from targeted ads – though it does have sponsored ads in the first one or two search results that are relevant to your keywords. DuckDuckGo has a clean interface and deftly aggregates digital news. The “meanings” tab is a nice touch, as it helps analysis the significance of search terms.

                    What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call my national radio show and click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet or computer. From buying advice to digital life issues, click here for my free podcasts.

                    Copyright 2019, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.

                    Learn about all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at

                    French watchdog slaps Google with $57M fine under new EU law

                    France’s data privacy watchdog has fined Google 50 million euros ($ 57 million), the first penalty for a U.S. tech giant under new European data privacy rules that took effect last year.

                    The National Data Protection Commission said Monday it fined the U.S. internet giant for “lack of transparency, inadequate information and lack of valid consent” regarding ad personalization for users.

                    The commission said users were “not sufficiently informed” about what they were agreeing to.

                    It’s the biggest regulatory enforcement action since the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, came into force in May.

                    Google said in a statement it’s “deeply committed” to transparency and user control as well as GDPR consent requirements and is deciding “our next steps.”

                    Google workers push tech giants to end forced arbitration

                    In a sign of what 2019 may have in store for big tech, Google workers on Tuesday kicked off a campaign demanding a complete end to the practice of forced arbitration.

                    Forced arbitration, which was one focus of the massive Google Walkout in November, generally means that workers cannot take their employers to court for any complaints but must settle their disputes internally.

                    During the November protest, organizers demanded the Mountain View, Calif. company to end forced arbitration for sexual assault as well as discrimination. After being pressured, the tech giant ended the practice, but only for sexual harassment claims.

                    Now a group called Googlers For Ending Forced Arbitration has launched a campaign on Twitter and Instagram to pressure other Silicon Valley firms into changing their policies in three crucial ways: First, they want arbitration to be optional for all types of disputes between employers and any employees, temps or contractors. Second, they want to end any class-action waivers that prevent employees from banding together to file lawsuits. And lastly, they don’t want any gag rule on arbitration proceedings, so that such proceedings and settlements could be made public.

                    According to the group, not a single business out of over 30 tech firms and at least 10 contractor suppliers meets the above criteria.

                    “Forcing workers to agree to arbitration as a condition of employment creates a number injustices,” the group said in a statement, noting that forced arbitration settlements typically yield lower damages than the court system and allow employers to limit their disclosure of evidence needed to prove a case.

                    In addition, the campaign aims to educate Silicon Valley workers about arbitration more broadly. The Googlers claim that Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services (JAMS) is the private company used by Google, Tesla, Airbnb, Uber and others for their arbitration needs.

                    This campaign is just the latest sign of a growing movement within the tech industry to hold major companies like Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon accountable for their actions in the broader community along with their treatment of employees internally. Previous efforts have called out Amazon for its facial recognition technology and hit Facebook for failing its Black users.

                    The Google workers’ efforts – previewed in a post on Medium – received support from at least one California legislator, Rep. Jackie Speier, a Democrat, who said she was “standing with Googlers for Ending Forced Arbitration and their public awareness campaign.” Referencing the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, she said in a message posted to Twitter that forced arbitration “denies 60 million Americans access to basic rights.”

                    Fox News reached out to Google for comment on this story.