How to Check If Your Passwords Have Been Stolen

How to Check If Your Passwords Have Been Stolen

Dennis Snider

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If your data falls into the wrong hands, you run the risk of experiencing a huge range of issues. You could find that your accounts can be compromised and your sensitive information can be accessed by hackers and other bad actors.

Data breaches are, unfortunately, all too common. A huge number of websites and platforms experience these breaches and it means that your information might have been compromised. The biggest data dump in internet history occurred recently: known as “Collection #1”, this huge 87GB file contains 2,692,818,238 spreadsheet rows in 12,000 files. The leak contains both email addresses and passwords.

Was your information part of the breach? Here’s how you can find out.

Have You Been Pwned?

There is a free website that exists called “Have I Been Pwned?”. You can put your email address into the search bar and the platform will search to see whether your email address was part of a data breach. The website will then tell you which websites might have been responsible, and why.

This is a really useful tool and if you find that your data has been revealed, it’s important that you begin to change your passwords and consider using a password manager plugin. These tools (such as LastPass) help you to create super strong unique passwords which are never the same.

Our lack of creativity with passwords is a big problem: while there were 700 million email accounts included in “Collection #1”, there were only 21 million unique passwords. This is because as a whole, we are very poor at creating unique passwords and prefer to use some variation of common passwords like “password” and “123456”. This is very problematic and means that hackers find it easy to gain access to your accounts.

Next Steps

If your find that your data has been compromised at some point, it’s important that you begin to change your passwords. While it is convenient, you should never use the same password for different websites. This is why you should use a password manager.

Another important step to take is enabling two-factor authentication. If you have this switched on, it’s very difficult for hackers to get into your accounts even if they have your password. While this might seem like a hassle at first, it’s an important part of handling your data responsibly. Most websites will send a text message to your phone and a passcode will be sent there.

We hope that you haven’t been the victim of a data breach but if you have, these tips can help you to stay safe and secure.

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