A New Google Chrome Extension Can Make Sure Your Passwords Are Safe

iStock.com/ymgerman
iStock.com/ymgerman

Password hacks and other security breaches have become an unfortunate and frequent headline in recent years, with massive amounts of data being compromised. In 2018 alone, Facebook saw the personal details of 30 million of its users stolen. At this stage, it's becoming more unusual not to have at least one online account associated with a privacy disruption.

A new update for the Google Chrome browser may be able to keep you better informed of breaches and possible risks to your personal information. Dubbed Password Checkup, the extension matches your login credentials against a database of known compromised usernames and passwords. If your sign-in is no longer secure, you'll receive a warning to change your identification.

The obvious question is whether Password Checkup risks a security breach itself by regularly analyzing your username and password data. Google says that the information transmitted is encrypted and that the company neither recognizes nor retains any of your login data.

Password Checkup might be the most convenient way of keeping track of any compromised passwords, but it's not the only one. We previously told you about Pwned Passwords, a searchable database of vulnerable passwords, and advised on the use of password managers, which can use complex credentials that aren't as vulnerable to leaks.

Google relies on a pool of more than 4 billion compromised usernames and passwords for its security alerts. (The company, for the record, says it never pays for access to stolen credentials.) But it is by no means a definitive list. WIRED reporter Lily Hay Newman tested an account she knew had been exposed in a breach: Password Checkup didn't flag it.

While likely a valuable tool, Password Checkup and applications like it should be part of a multi-tiered approach to security that includes a strong—and unique—password for each site.

[h/t The Verge]

BioLite Has Designed a Headlamp That Won't Irritate or Slip Off Your Head

BioLite
BioLite

Headlamps are convenient in theory. Instead of fumbling with a flashlight or your phone in the dark, you can strap one to your head and walk your dog, do some late-night grilling, or venture around your campsite hands-free.

But in reality, the awkward design—with a bulky light that digs into your skin and slides down your forehead—cancels out much of the product's appeal. Luckily, it doesn't have to be this way, as the folks at BioLite have demonstrated with their reinvented headlamp.

The BioLite HeadLamp 330, which debuted on Kickstarter in 2018 and is now available on Amazon, promises to make you forget you're even wearing it. Inspired by modern wearables, BioLite has retooled various elements of the clunky traditional design to make it as comfortable as it is functional.

A man wearing a red HeadLamp 330
BioLite

The ultra-thin light sits flat against your skull, which means you won't have any painful marks in the middle of your forehead when you take it off. The band itself is made from a moisture-wicking fabric that feels good on your skin, even when you're working up a sweat. And unlike conventional headlamps, BioLite has redistributed the power source to the back of the head in its design, balancing the weight and taking care of any slippage issues.

As is the case with other BioLite products, technology is an essential part of the design. The 330-lumen lamp projects light up to nearly 250 feet in front of you. There are variable lighting settings, too: You can opt for either a white spot or floodlight, both with dimming options, or a strobe light feature; there's also a red floodlight. It can run for three and a half hours at maximum brightness or 40 hours at minimum brightness, and when it needs to be recharged, you can just plug it into a micro-USB source like a solar panel or powerbank.

Get your own BioLite Headlamp for $49 on Amazon. It's available in in ember red, ocean teal, sunrise yellow, or midnight gray.

Teal headlamp.
BioLite

Bioengineering Student Is Building Custom Prosthetic Arms From LEGO Bricks

iStock.com/serts
iStock.com/serts

The custom LEGO designs built by 19-year-old David Aguilar aren't meant to sit on a shelf. For years he's been ignoring the instructions that come with LEGO sets to make functioning prosthetic arms for himself, and now he's sharing his creations online, Reuters reports.

Aguilar—who lives in Andorra, a small principality on the French-Spanish border—was born with a rare genetic condition that left him without a right forearm. He built his first artificial limb out of LEGO bricks at age 9, and hasn't looked back. Today Aguilar is pursuing an eduction in bioengineering at the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya in Spain, and he's already on LEGO prosthetic No. 4.

After acquiring complex LEGO sets for things like airplanes and construction vehicles, Aguilar reconfigures them into arms and adds electric motors that allow him to move his fingers and bend his elbow. He documents his building process on YouTube under the name Hand Solo. Each arm he builds is named MK followed by the model number (MK I, MK II, etc.), a nod to the MK suits built by Tony Stark in the Iron Man series.

The LEGO prosthetics are more than conversation starters—they're also affordable compared to professionally made robotic limbs on the market. Aguilar tells Reuters his dream is to one day provide cheaper options to prosthetics-wearers like him.

[h/t Reuters]

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