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Online Security

Life is a breach, and then you’re pwned

The continuous flow of high-profile data breaches are a problem for anyone wishing to stay secure. Every time I hear about another large-scale compromise, I cannot help but wonder if I had an account with them.

There is an interactive info graphic that charts the worlds biggest data breaches, available at the informationisbeautiful.net website. (They have tons of other cool stuff, but this stood out)

Screen Shot 2014-01-02 at 12.23.40 PM

It is beautiful. It is also simultaneously awe-inspiring and terrifying.

Keeping track of all the accounts we’re required to create, as part of our day-to-day digital life can be a really daunting task, and this visualization drives the point to just how vulnerable we are.

Enter haveibeenpwned.com, a convenient way to find out if your email address has turned up in a data breach (because no one re-uses credentials across multiple services, right?).

Troy Hunt, a reputable security researcher, (Hi Troy!), runs the site, hence why I temporarily removed the tin foil hat and recommend using a service requiring you to enter an email address you care about.

I did read the FAQ, more specifically this:

 “Is a list of everyone’s email address or username available?

There’s no facility to return anything other than the results for a single user-provided email address or username at a time so there’s no way to harvest accounts from the database.”

You can verify if your personal details have been leaked and are part of a breach. So far there are eight breaches cataloged.

They are Adobe, Snapchat, Strafford, Gawker, Yahoo, Vodaphone, Pixel Federation, and Sony.

More will be added as more breaches inevitably occur.

You can also monitor your email addresses, and receive a notification as soon as they appear in new breaches, and are added to this service.

All in all, a cool proactive way to stay on top of your personal info, and free to boot!


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