Feeds

Chrome makes new password grab in version 34

Even with autocomplete off, Google will ask if it can 'help' by storing your passwords

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Google has announced that Chrome 34 is now stable enough to be promoted to the Stable Channel. In a few days it will therefore become the default version for millions of users.

Most of the updates to the browser are anodyne: there are 30-odd security fixes, a new look on Windows 8 and what Google labels “Lots of under the hood changes for stability and performance”.

But Chrome 34 will also “ … now offer to remember and fill password fields in the presence of autocomplete=off.” That means that if a website turns off automatic password collection, Chrome will offer to do it anyway if password manager is enabled.

Chromium developers justify this move by saying “It is the security team's view that this is very important for user security by allowing users to have unique and more complex passwords for websites.”

Google also says the decision is in line with its belief in the priority of consistencies, an idea that suggests “In case of conflict, consider users over authors over implementors over specifiers over theoretical purity.”

That last link is to a 2011 post from Chrome security chap Adam Barth and specifically addresses the password manager issue, as follows:

The password manager is a source of conflict for these competing interests. Implementors (myself included) believe that password managers improve security by reducing the costs of using a large number of more complex passwords. Many banks, however, disagree. They believe that password managers reduce security because passwords stored in password managers can be stolen by miscreants.

How do browser vendors resolve this conflict? By default, we enable the password manager. Because users have a higher priority than implementors (i.e., browser vendors), browsers let users turn the password manager off. Because authors (i.e., site operators) also have a higher priority than browser vendors, browsers let authors disable the password manager on their own web sites by setting autocomplete=off.

It's still possible to turn off autocomplete with a “ "--disable-ignore-autocomplete-off"” flag. Just how many average users whose browsers update to Chrome 34 without their intervention care, or care to make that change, is anyone's guess. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
Carders punch holes through Staples
Investigation launched into East Coast stores
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.