Has your password ever been hacked? If you use Facebook, LivingSocial, or even Adobe services, it’s possible that your account has been compromised. Password theft has been on the rise as more and more hackers and identity thieves launch cyber attacks against large companies with vast user databases. And, if you use the same password across several of your accounts, it only takes one hacking to make you vulnerable everywhere.
So, how can you tell if your password has been hacked? Up until recently, the only way to tell was to monitor your accounts for unusual activity. Now, there’s a new solution.
Have I Been Pwned is a website that aggregates stolen usernames and passwords so you can check to see if you’re on the list. So what should you do if you see your username and password on this list? What can you do to protect yourself? Let’s find out.
When the Hackers Come Knocking
Yahoo! News reports that Troy Hunter, the software designer behind Have I Been Pwned, wanted to create an easy way for people to check if their password was hacked and leaked online. He aggregated the data of millions of accounts stolen in various data breaches into a one-stop-shop website.
So how did Hunt gather this data? From Yahoo! News:
“Hunt was able to collect all this information into one site because after each of these five breaches, the culprits posted the stolen information online.”
So far, 154 million stolen accounts are included on the website. This includes account information stolen during data breaches at Adobe, Gawker, Sony, Stratfor, and Yahoo! since 2010. All it takes is entering your email address into the website. From there, Have I Been Pwned will let you know if your account is among the 154 million stolen accounts.
However, the site doesn’t contain the recently stolen 2 million accounts from Google, Facebook, Twitter, or Yahoo — though they may be added soon. A good piece of advice is to regularly run your email through Have I Been Pwned to see if your account has been compromised, even if you haven’t heard about a massive data breach.
Protect Your Accounts from Hackers and Identity Thieves
First, change your password on whichever account has been hacked.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to change any password associated with that email account. From Yahoo! News:
“If you used the compromised password anywhere else, you can assume that the hackers — and anyone else who took a look at the publicly leaked data — has access to those other accounts and anything associated with them.”
We recommend you use longer passwords — usually 10 or more characters to be safe. Use both letters and numbers and don’t make it something simple like 123456789. It’s also a good idea to use different passwords for your accounts. This means you should use a different password on your email account than your Facebook, Twitter or Yahoo! account.
What Do You Think?
Have any of your accounts been hacked? Did you email address come up on Have I Been Pwned? What steps did you take to protect your account? Let us know in the comments section!
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