Data breaches are escalating at an alarming rate. Although the number of breaches decreased from 1597 to 1232 in 2018, the amount of data exposed this past year was massive, in the BILLIONS.
While hackers can install “stealthware” to get your email and password, they are much more interested in attacking large organizations, such as financial institutions, medical facilities, and large chain stores to get the biggest return for their efforts. That’s not to say, there aren’t computer bots floating around looking for an unprotected computer, because this happens too. However, your information may well have been due to a data breach from a larger database. Much of the time, the breach can yield millions of accounts.
The following two resources I am providing here are safe to browse as they simply scan for a username or a password and don’t capture any data. They also don’t connect one with the other. Its simply a search engine that efficiently scans several published databases containing a large collection of entries found on the dark web which hackers have compiled. Yours may be among them. You may want to spend a little time checking to see if your email or password is listed. If you find your password is found, it’s time to change it.
- Check if my password is known
Has my password been found? Copy and paste this link into your web browser.
Type your password – see if the hackers have captured it. Simply type in your password and click on the “pwned?” button.
There is no relationship between your account(s) or this password scanner. Therefore, there is no risk of any correlation between the two. This scanner simply checks known database records on the “dark web” to see if yours is among them.
Red – change your password – Green – your password is safe at this time.
Consider the impact if you use the same username and same password across many of your accounts. It is clear, the odds are in the hackers favor. So, we MUST take the extra effort to keep the target changing to thwart their efforts. There are programs available to help you manage these passwords. I use Password Safe, but there are many others. Many of these have a password generator so you don’t have to struggle to come up with new passwords. These programs can also be extended to your Smartphone so you can keep them handy. Since these programs themselves are encrypted, they keep the hackers from getting your password safe.
- Check if my email is known
Do the hackers know my email address? They may. If your email address was contained in one of the many security breaches, then hackers could have your email address This will allow them to send targeted emails directly to you in an attempt to extort money or get more information.
Click on this link or “copy and paste” this address to your browser to check.
If they have knowledge of my email address, they can apply this against many different online accounts, charge cards, banks, etc. So, if you find that they know your email address, pay particular attention NOT to use the same password for multiple accounts.
However, if you get a GREEN response for your email account, it is very likely for the time being, you are okay. But, don’t get too comfortable and forget to change your passwords on occasion. Statistics show your best way to defend against stolen accounts and passwords is to change your password regularly. Once every 3 months at a minimum.