Your email has probably been hacked. Here’s what to do about it.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — In consumer news, I’m taking a look at your email address. Chances are it has been breached. Here’s how I know. The folks with the website Cybernews monitor popular hacking forums, and they discovered that 3.27 billion unique emails and passwords had been leaked onto one of those hacking sites.
All these emails and passwords were not from one breach. Instead, hackers had compiled them from dozens of breaches. And because so many folks use the same password over and over again, thieves are using your email password to see if they can get access to your other accounts, like your banking app or your Paypal account.
So here’s what you can do. Go to this website haveibeenpwned.com.
The word pwned, (pronounced poned) is taken from video game culture. It means to control or conquer someone. In internet-speak, it means have I been breached. So I put my husband’s email into the search engine. I already knew that it had been compromised, but according to the site, it’s been breached nine times and has been pasted once. That means it’s been shared on a public website where hackers can easily share information.
But my husband frequently changes his passwords. So I wanted to see if his password had been compromised as well. I went to the website, Pwnedpasswords.com tells me it has not.
So now you can clearly see why we all need to change our passwords. And make sure you create unique passwords for each of your accounts. Here’s how you can do that easily. Go to 1password.com. It will generate unique passwords and store them for you.
You should also use two-factor authentication whenever possible. That way, even if thieves know your password, they still can’t access your account. There are so many tools to help keep us safe.
And we, as consumers, have the power. Now you know how to use it.