Have you been hacked? Find out with this quick and easy service

29 SEP 2016 0

Data hacks are a sadly commonplace occurrence these days. It seems like a week doesn't go by without news of another huge security breech at a major corporation or service, compromising thousands of accounts. It's scary sure, but also exhausting. When these reports are so regular and frequent, it's easy to get a little complacent about them, to skim the headline without really wondering if maybe you should be changing your passwords right now.

Thankfully, Have I Been Pwned? is making it easier than ever to know if its time to panic. The service monitors large scale data dumps (the kind that always accompanies a large scale hack) and complies a database of compromised accounts. Instead of worrying if you're one of ten thousand names that was lost in the latest corporate blunder, simply input your email address or username and find out for sure.

Have I Been Pwned? isn't the first site with this idea, but it is one of the better and more transparent ones to come around. Its biggest advantage is that it is free to use, unlike some similar sites. Great for those of us who don't feel like they should have to pay a kind of gentle ransom just to find out if an account of yours has been hacked.

Of course, if your name does come up, it's time to do some serious damage control.  Change the password on the compromised account as soon as possible and be sure to monitor it for any suspicious activity (new contacts, purchases, etc). If you use the same password across multiple sites (tsk, tsk) you should change all of them as well. It may be a hassle, but it's much easier to change a few passwords than to untangle a fraudulent credit card charge or try and reclaim a hijacked service account.

Enabling two-step verification is an excellent precaution as well. That way you have an added security layer even if your password is compromised in a data breech. Most major email providers and services offer two-step these days and its dead simple to set up and use. You'd be silly not to enable it.
If you want to really get serious about your password integrity, you can also look into password managers, a topic we'll be diving into later this week!

Data breeches aren't going anywhere soon. While they might not have the shocking impact they used to, it's important to remember that they can still cause you no end of headaches. Take a moment to periodically check your accounts and make sure your leaving the door open to hackers and account hijackers.

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