With all the data and security breaches that have happened in recent years, it’s easy to feel paranoid that your accounts, and worse, your identity, can be compromised.
But there are people and organizations who have realized that there is a need for services to check whether one’s accounts have been compromised or not. There are now a good number of tools that can help you find out if your account was swept into the cesspool of hacked accounts.
A Recent History of Data Breach
One of the most notable data breaches in recent past was the 2012 LinkedIn hack. Passwords and email addresses were compromised, and a number of people who used the same email and password on other accounts (which was a common practice then) were hit the worst.
In 2015, the most embarrassing, not to mention scandalous, hack was the Ashley Madison hack. To realize that one’s accounts, or worse, one’s spouse or significant other’s accounts were part of that security breach comes with a lot of consequences. In any case, it’s still a good idea to check.
Hopefully, forgiveness, understanding, and an appreciation of the years and memories spent together will help a couple weather the Ashley Madison storm, but in any case, learning whether you or your spouse/significant other are part of the data breach will help you decide the next steps.
- Resource#1: Check NOW If Hackers Stole Your Data After LinkedIn And MySpace Hacks
- Resource #2: How To Check If Your LinkedIn Account Was Hacked
The Primary Way To Find Out If Your Accounts Are Part Of The Data Breaches
Since the 2012 LinkedIn hack, security expert Troy Hunt put up the website “Have I Been Pwned?” It’s the first line of defense that you can turn to when you suspect that your accounts have been compromised.
All you need to do is to search for your email address using its very user-friendly interface, and you’ll be able to find out whether your account has been compromised, as well as on how many and which sites the details have been stolen from.
I found that one of my email accounts had been compromised and my details were stolen from LinkedIn, Adobe, and Tumblr. It’s an irritating discovery, but it’s a good thing that I’ve changed my details when LinkedIn’s alert first came out.
A More Chilling Data Breach—Financial And Identity Theft
Maybe you like buying things online, and there’s this one rare manga issue that you had to have your hands on. However, you discover belatedly that the site is fake. Alas and alack, they already have your details.
You can certainly sign up for identity theft and credit monitoring services, but there are government services that you can take advantage of, as well.
The Office of Personnel Management has a page that’s rather comprehensive about how you can find out if your data figured in a security breach, as well as what to do after you learn that you’ve been compromised.
Remember that identity theft can affect your credit rating, which may also harm your chances of getting a new job, or for some companies, possibly even getting a raise or promotion. So regularly monitor your SSN, and make sure that no one else is using it.
- OPM.gov: Cybersecurity Resource Center
- IRS.gov: Data Breach: Tax-Related Information for Taxpayers
- Digital Guardian: Experts Share The Most Important Steps To Take After A Data Breach in 2015 & Beyond
The Scandalous: Ashley Madison Victims
What did your Mamma tell you?
Never, ever, Sign up on dubious, scandalous websites. If you must, use another email, one that you don’t use for work. And if you really must buy things, use a debit or prepaid card.
This Wired article lists a number of ways on “How to Check if You or a Loved One Were Exposed in the Ashley Madison Hack.”
So if they haven’t checked yet, imagine all the significant others whose hearts will be crushed SHOULD they find out if their respective partners were part of the Ashley Madison member database.
The sound of hearts breaking all across the globe can’t be a good one, and it’s a good thing they probably broke collectively a whole year ago. So now, we’ll be hearing the sound of hearts belatedly breaking since they probably discovered these account-checking sites just now.
Being the victim of a data breach is certainly not a pleasant experience at all. But with these tools, you can now check if you or the ones you love have been “pwned.”
If you find that you have been a victim of hacking, whether internet accounts or financial accounts, be sure to read the Digital Guardian article about steps to take after data theft is discovered.
Good luck, and here’s to better cybersecurity.