Data breaches have proliferated in 2019. This week we reported that IT company Tech Data and the American Medical Collection Agency both suffered wide-scale, potentially catastrophic data breaches. And the week prior we reported that Pyramid Hotel Group, Snap Inc., and People Inc. suffered similarly dangerous breaches as well. It’s only natural to feel more helpless in the face of these calamities, and as always, it’s our goal to function as a resource for privacy-minded citizens. Here’s a quick and easy way to check if your data has been stolen.
Check “Have I Been Pwned”
Created by Troy Hunt, a Microsoft Regional Director, Have I Been Pwned is a free resource which gathers information from data breaches over the past few years. Using cloud services like Microsoft Azure, Hunt is able to collect these massive stores of data in one place. All the user needs to do is search their email address on the home page, and then some results will likely surface. You’ll be able to see which breaches you were affected by, as well as details about each breach. The site itself is incredibly secure, and uses a hashing algorithm so that sensitive data is never stored or directly accessible. For more about the website’s privacy procedures, head here.
How to Protect Yourself
The site offers a quick primer on how to prevent these kinds of incidents from happening again. It’s just three easy steps, but we agree that they’re essential.
- Protect yourself using 1Password to generate and save strong passwords for each website
- Enable 2-factor authentication and store the codes inside your 1Password account
- Subscribe to notifications for any other breaches. Then just change that unique password (another free resource offered by the site)
These are some easy, free precautions everyone can take to protect themselves. If you haven’t already, check out our guide for what to do after a data breach, as well as our tips on creating a secure password.
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