Has your email address been compromised?

There have been several highly publicised and high-profile data breaches in the last year, including LinkedIn, Dropbox, Facebook, Quora, Marriot International, Uber, British Airways, Dixons Carphone Warehouse, Pizza Hut, Yahoo, Equifax, Three Mobile, Tesco, Moonpig, Mumsnet and Morrison’s supermarket … to name just a few! The number of affected email accounts numbers in the billions world-wide.

You may not recognise some of the companies shown above but that doesn’t mean you are exempt from having been compromised. Once breached many databases are sold onto third parties and not all of them are legitimate organisations looking to market their products and services to you….they are looking for more! So don’t assume that because you never eaten at Pizza Hut that you are safe.

Billions of email accounts have been compromised – including every single one of my own! It is very important to know whether you have been compromised and thankfully, there is a quick, free and easy way to see if you’re at risk from a number of recent data breaches.

Check your email addresses.

There are two, safe and verified, websites available that can tell you if your email addresses are in amongst the details of various data breaches. Use either one and enter each of your email addresses.

After a data breach becomes publicly known, these website’s owners locates the data and upload it to their website database where it’s made searchable. Passwords and sensitive data aren’t stored on these sites – only email addresses or usernames which are used to identify whether a user’s account details were stolen.

Check your email accounts
Check your email accounts

What to do if compromised…or even if it hasn’t!

The simple rule is change your passwords and never use the same password twice.

Make them complicated! Freddy44 won’t do but 6sDrX0@hG&UUEak!HD2S will!

Freddy44 would be cracked in 2 seconds by a bot while 6sDrX0@hG&UUEak!HD2S might get cracked in 11 quintillion years (I kid you not – that’s a real number; it’s a 1 followed by 30 zeros)

Check your passwords
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I use Lastpass and I am not an affiliate. I recommend LastPass because it works and is very easy to setup and use. You only ever need to remember one password.

I have close to 3000 usernames and passwords that give me access to all my personal and business accounts including bank accounts, email accounts and every website that I have ever logged into. Every password is unique, nearly all of them are 20 characters like the ‘6sDrX0@hG&UUEak!HFMS’ example (the exceptions are websites that enforce 8 characters or have some other restriction)