Today, it is more and more frequent that you are asked to open a customer account to access the services offered by a website: online shopping, educational information, tourist reservations, etc.
Here’s How to Find Out if Your Personal Info Has Been Breached
With countless personal information breaches every year, it isn’t uncommon to find that your data is for sale. In this article, you will find out how to know if your account has been hacked or your password or other details have been breached, and what to do if so.
So, how to find out if your info has been breached?
How to Find Out if Your Personal Info Has Been Breached?
Following are several ways to check whether or not your information has been breached.
1. Go to haveibeenpwned.com
Haveibeenpwned.com (Have I Been Pwned) site lets you search through multiple data breaches to check if your contact number or email address has been breached or not.
Put your contact number or email address in international format (along with the country code). And then, click on the ‘pwned?’ button.
If your data is not part of a known leak, the site displays the line “Good news, no pwned found/No accounts hacked”.
However, if your address was caught in a breached database, the message will come “Oh no, pwned!” and also you will get a list of identified leaks where it is included.
That leaked database list shows what details are included: contact number, DOB, IP address, physical address, passwords, email address, and also a brief of how the information was obtained and breached.
2. The News Each Day
This other tool, suggested by Gizmodo, also allows you to check, again using a phone number, whether your data is among the recent leak.
The leaked info includes:
– Full names
– Dates of birth
– Email addresses
3. Check on CyberNews
And just like Facebook, the number of people affected by the LinkedIn data breach is in the millions.
According to CyberNews, the database would have been listed for sale on a hacker forum (starting at $ 1,000 for 500 million profiles), but according to LinkedIn, “no private LinkedIn member account data was included in what we have been able to examine”.
In other words, it would only be “public” information. But we can nevertheless find names, email addresses, phone numbers, and even professional backgrounds.
Still, it is useful to check if you are one of the affected accounts to avoid spam or phishing campaigns.
CyberNews has implemented a tool that allows you to enter your email address and instantly check if you are in the database for sale. To do this, go to the website and input your email address or phone number.
This will be securely compared to a 500 GB database. If your email is on the list, immediately change your password on LinkedIn, and enable two-factor authentication.
If one of these tools confirms that your data has been compromised, now is the time to change your passwords and adopt better cybersecurity practices.
A password manager, for example, allows you to create a unique key for each website. Enabling two-factor authentication also decreases the risk of your data leaking again.
What to Do in the Event of a Leak?
According to the results of the Have I Been Pwned survey, the first thing to do is to eliminate repeated passwords for leaked services used on other sites.
Next, it is important to verify if payment information such as a debit or credit card number has been included and to check with the responsible company, usually the card issuer, if any abnormal transactions were recorded during the period, and if any action needs to be taken.
Otherwise, unfortunately, the data is already public and there is not much to do. Another safety measure is to change the answers to questions like “in what city were you born?” in password recovery systems that use data included in the leaks.
It is a lengthy process and without any special tools. Make a list of all your accounts (even the ones used for shopping or the ones you open once a year) and go through all passwords and security questions.
Try to delete as many personal details as possible from all your profiles.
How to Avoid Further Leaks?
Even removing as much personal information as possible from services already in use is no guarantee, as some leaks include data that should have been removed by companies.
Try not to provide any private information in the first place. Even your name and DOB can be used against you, so be very picky as to what details to display.
Remember, even if the company doesn’t show some of your information to other viewers, they still have it in their database, which still puts it at risk.
To minimize damage from future leaks, we repeat the recommendation to use unique and hard-to-guess passwords.
Here, the password suggestion tools integrated into Chrome and Safari (and also Edge, Firefox, and other Search Engines) not only avoid combinations of the type “123456”, but also synchronize passwords on several devices.
Also, before clicking on any links, it is recommended to check who the sender is. Be cautious of new online friends. Don’t trust people too quickly.
If you were contacted by a representative of some company, see if the company or such an employee even exists. Nuwber will help with looking up additional details about people – all you need is to search for their name or phone number.
What Risks Does a Data Breach Represent?
In an increasingly digitized business environment, cybersecurity threats are the order of the day.
In fact, it is estimated that 58% of companies have suffered a cyber-attack and every day between 1,000 and 2,000 new vulnerabilities appear that can affect both individuals and entities.
The first and most common risk with thousands of phone numbers that have been dropped in the wild is that your number if it is part of the leak in question, will be targeted by spam attempts.
There is more worrying, for those who, for example, enter not only their real name but also their e-mail address. Hackers are very good at putting together pieces of information found on different sources.
Your personal details may be used for different kinds of identity theft and even stalking or doxxing. That creates legal and financial issues, which take quite a long time to solve.
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