HACKERS have leaked the usernames and passwords of BILLIONS of online accounts down the years.
Facebook, LinkedIn and Yahoo are among hundreds of websites to suffer major breaches that allowed crooks to pinch the credentials of their users.
They’re frequently then sold or even handed out for free on hacker forums, where the murky underworld of the web can do with them as they please.
If any of those username and password combos are reused on other services, hackers can break into multiple accounts owned by one person.
That could include their bank account or online shopping profiles, potentially giving crooks access to credit card details and more.
Fortunately, one tech whizz has built a website to check whether any of your online accounts have been exposed.
What is ‘Have I Been Pwned?’
The most popular site for checking if your email and the accounts tied to it have been hacked is “Have I Been Pwned.”
Here you can safely enter your email address and the site will check it against multiple data breach incidents.
If your account details were included in one of those breaches, the site will tell you with the message “oh no – pwned” flashing up on screen.
It will also give you information on the breach and the type of data that was compromised, such as email addresses and passwords, and which service it was linked to.
The site only asks for your email address, so you don’t need to worry about handing over passwords and other sensitive info.
Just enter your email into the search bar, and click the “pwned?” button next to it.
The results will then appear on the corresponding page.
What should I do if my account has been pwned?
If you’re met with bad news, your first move should be to change your login password for the affected account.
You should also do the same for the service that was hit by the breach.
Even if your email itself hasn’t been the victim of a breach, there’s security risk if another account that you log into with the same password has been affected.
In an ideal world, we’d use different passwords across all the platforms we’re signed up to.
But with apps and social networks piling up, it’s easy to fall back on the same login info to avoid confusion.
But at the very least, you should have a strong, unique password for logging into your email.
And make sure you don’t duplicate that password by using it elsewhere.
Do you have any tips for keeping your accounts safe? Let us know in the comments.
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In other news, a British cyber security expert has warned of a dangerous setting on your iPhone that leaves you exposed to hackers.
Apple has paid millions of dollars to a woman whose explicit videos and images were shared online by people repairing her iPhone.
Spotify has launched a new feature for its Android and iOS apps that spots your favourite artists and gives you a personalised playlist.
And, a rejected Samsung AI assistant is causing a stir on the internet as some fans have created porn starring the cartoon character.
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