November 5, 2013 weblog
Google relents—adds system password prompt before displaying web passwords
Now it appears that Google has had a change of heart, at least as it applies to Mac users—Chromium developer François Beaufort has announced on his Google+ page that Google has implemented a "fix" for the problem for users of the Chromium Build for Mac. Now, if a sneaky person gains physical access to someone else's computer and tries to get the browser to show all of the saved passwords, they will be prompted to first type in the Mac OS password. Of course, that still won't stop them from visiting and logging in automatically (because the passwords have still been saved after all) to whatever web sites they find in the list of favorites, their history, etc.
It's not clear why Google had a change of heart, or if the change will be made to Google Chrome (Windows) or if it will, how long that might take. Last summer, company reps said making such a change to Chrome would give users a false sense of security. They suggested that users lock their computer when away from the keyboard to give themselves a true security system.
It's clear that forcing users to type in a system password will prevent miscreants from quickly printing out a list of logins/passwords—whether it will also lull them into a false of security remains to be seen—at least for Mac users.
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