It seems just about every day there’s a new data breach or website hack that’s making its way through the media. Just this week, it was 500 million yahoo.com accounts, and you can add those numbers to the recent LinkedIn, Dropbox, and Adobe breaches that have made the headlines….to name but a few. In time, these companies will reach out to those users affected, and let them know, but there are some things you can do to be proactive.
- Visit https://haveibeenpwned.com, and check your email addresses. Getting “pwned” (which is slang for getting hacked) is all too common, and this database has been created so that you can easily type in your password and check which data breaches- if any- your email address was associated with. If your email comes up, change your password on that account (and anywhere else you use that username/password combination), so hackers won’t be able to access your online accounts. There’s also a free “notify me” feature that will send you an email if your email ever comes up on a data breach list. Got multiple addresses? Check each one.
- CHANGE YOUR PASSWORD. We can’t say it enough….and it’s just as annoying for us as it is for you. Come up with unique passwords for each website you visit and change them often. It’s perhaps the safest thing you can do. Period.
Use this post as your general reminder to check your email addresses and change your passwords. Maybe set quarterly reminders on your calendar to do this frequently, or make it a seasonal ritual. Whatever it takes, make sure you make your accounts as safe as possible. Don’t forget to tell your less tech savvy neighbors, parents, or elderly friends too….they’re just as vulnerable, if not more!