Have my personal details been sold?
We all have passwords that we use online for shopping, social media, business and banking.
Did you know that your email and passwords could have been compromised by hackers attacking some of the websites and systems that you use?
It is quite common for data breaches to occur and unfortunately most online companies do not inform their customers when this happens – even though the GDPR law in the UK compels them to take action and inform all affected parties when their data has been breached.
But these laws do not extend to overseas entities.
Most of the big websites that we use – and the bigger they are, the more of a target they become for hackers – are hosted and controlled by overseas businesses. This means they are not compelled to inform their customers of any data breaches – even though they should do.
That being said, many websites DO let their clients know of possible data breaches. But again, often way after the breach has occurred – often months later.
How do I check to see if my email and passwords have been compromised?
There are some online tools to check and see if your details have been stolen and then listed ‘for sale’ probably as part of a much larger datatbreach.
Try these websites to see if your details are listed:
Have I Been Pwned – (pwned is an industry term for stolen data that is made available to purchase on the dark web) Link to the HaveIBeenPwned website
There are many others as well so you can simply do a search in Google for “How do I check to see if my email and passwords have been compromised?
There is also another way to check your stored passwords within the Google Chrome browser.
This process will check your stored passwords against sites that have been known to have been compromised previously. You can then change them or delete them from your auto complete settings in Chrome.
Step 1: If you use Windows then do this:
- On your computer, open Chrome.
- At the top, click More – Settings.
- Select Passwords, Check passwords.
I use a Mac so I use the following steps:
Then you will see:
Then select “check now”
Then it lists how many breaches it has found by comparing Chromes stored passwords against known attacks and breaches of personal data. My check found 9 compromised passwords!
Then I can check to see exactly where my passwords have been compromised from:
Then I can choose what to do about Chrome’s storage of my password
It’s best to remove the password and then be forced to update it – in my opinion.
If you follow these steps you should enhance your security when using Chrome.
But you also need to change any passwords that you may see if you choose to “see password” instead of remove password – if it shows one that you still use. – anywhere – then I would change it everywhere.
Remember – never us the same password for different websites or services – make them all unique and difficult to guess.
Stay safe out there.
FAQs About Data Breaches
A data breach occurs when a hacker gains access to the database of a service or company which contains users’ private information. This information can range from usernames and passwords to national insurance numbers, addresses and even payment details. These lists are then usually sold online to criminal groups who seek to use this information for profit.
When very sensitive information like usernames, passwords or national insurance numbers are leaked, very serious consequences can follow. Be sure to never use the same password for multiple services – if one service you use is breached, you should consider all the accounts using the same password as compromised. With this type of information, not only can someone potentially steal from you, they can also impersonate you for other nefarious reasons.
A bad thing. Online identity theft, involves someone posing as you using your private information, usually for profit. Criminals usually obtain this data either by physical theft, accessing public information, or through data breaches. The best way to protect your identity online is to secure your private information by using strong passwords and never repeating the same one across other websites. Also by being careful what you share across different services.
When passwords are “hacked”, it usually means the service you have used the password in becomes the victim of a data breach, leaving your password and possibly other personal information exposed. In many cases, users can go for years before knowing that their password has been made public. To check this now, you can use websites like this one (https://haveibeenpwned.com/) to see if your details are already online and listed in records for sale.