There are many services that will check your name and email address and let you know if your information is part of a data breach. There’s a better, and free, way to do so. I’ll show you how to check if you’ve been hacked.
Head to haveibeenpwned.com
First, that’s not a typo. ‘pwned’ is a way to say ‘owned’, or beaten. The term started with gamers, but it’s used widely online including by hackers. Since the site checks to see if you’ve been hacked, the name fits. Now that we have that explanation out-of-the-way, head over to https://haveibeenpwned.com and type in your email address. You may get a message saying “Good news — no pwnage found!” You’re lucky. The other message you may say is “Oh no — pwned!” If that’s the case scroll down to see the list of breaches where you’re involved.
I’m on the list, now what?
The list will tell you where the breach happened, such as Dropbox, Gmail, Adobe, etc. If you haven’t already, change your password for the site or service. If you use the same password everywhere, then you have more work to do. You need to also change your password everywhere you reused the compromised one. While you’re changing your passwords, I recommend using a password manager to help keep track of all your different passwords. See my earlier post about passwords for more details.
One more thing
Click on Notify Me and sign up for future alerts. This is completely free and will let you know if you come up in any other data breaches.