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In recent times, its seldom that a few months go by in which you don’t hear about some company having a large data breach. Whether it is malicious hackers or data theft perpetrated by governments or organised crime rings, these breaches bring with them untold issues to the personal information you store online. Usernames, passwords, bank details, your address and other details could all be in the hands of other people and you are none the wiser. You may not be aware of this but there is a way to see if your data has been breached, where and when the breach took place and what data has been taken. Check your email address now with Have I Been Pwned.
What is Have I Been Pwned
Created by Troy Hunt in 2013, Have I Been Pwned is a website that checks if your personal data was compromised by data breaches. Have I Been Pwned collects and analyses various database dumps and pastebins containing information about leaked accounts. The website allows you to see if your data was breached just by searching your email address. Not on that, but you can set up a notification to see if your email address is part of any future data breaches.
In a 2016 blog post, Troy talks about data breaches and how data is a tradable commodity. “The thing with these data breaches is that ultimately, they’re a tradeable commodity and their price is driven by market forces. A breach that very few people know about is valuable because whilst victims are unaware of their exposure, they’re unlikely to change their passwords or monitor fraudulent activity against their identities. However, once they’re aware of their exposure and take measures to protect themselves then their value as a tradeable commodity plummets.” He carries on to say, “This is very clearly direct monetisation of data breach victims. Not only that, but the only reason people pay for this data is because it represents an ROI for them; they will then do something with the contents of the breach which presents them with a financial upside and that almost certainly means disadvantaging the victims.”
To give you an idea of what it looks like if you have a data breach, here are some screen shots of the breaches that my data was included in. The amount of information taken really surprised me. Needless to say, I have subsequently changed my passwords for all accounts. Some colleagues have tested their email address with a scary amount of personal data in the hands of unknown people.
Your views on Have I Been Pwned and data breaches
What do you think about Have I Been Pwned? Was your email included in a data leak? Let us know some of the details if you in the comment box below.