Website hacks aren’t news; almost every other day, a major website getting hack makes headlines, with thousands, and at times even millions of user account details falling in the wrong hands. There’s been a number of high profile system breaches lately against internet juggernauts like Gawker media, Sony, Facebook and Yahoo. In case you’ve had accounts on these services and have been wondering whether you’ve been among those unlucky ones whose personal information was leaked or compromised during those attacks, there’s a new web service called Have I Been Pwned? that can help you out instantly finding it out. Details just past the jump.
In case you haven’t spent a lot of time playing online video games like me, you might be wondering what ‘Pwned’ really is. A quick look at Wikipedia reveals it to be a ‘leetspeak’ slang term derived from the verb ‘Owned’, which means taking control of something.
Getting back to the service, Have I Been Pwned basically tells you whether your account was really ‘Pwned’ or not. Here’s how to find it out:
Simply head to the website via the link provided at the end of this post, enter your email address on the home page, and hit the ‘pwned?’ button.
The website will take a few seconds to analyze your email, and then if you’re safe, it will give you a green signal with a message stating ‘no pwnage found!’. On the other hand, if your email is indeed among any of the lists of stolen accounts, you’ll be warned about the number of sites where your account information might have been leaked. HIBP doesn’t explicitly state how it collects that data, other than that it uses information that has been made publicly available by the breached sites.
Of course, you will have to take further measures to safeguard your account on your own, either via changing the password associated with that account as well as all other accounts where you used the same password, or deactivating that account. The service currently matches your email address against the data leaked in Adobe, Yahoo, Gawker, Pixel Federation, Stratfor, and Sony website breaches.
Have I Been Pwned also offers integration into your website using an HTML snippet that you can embed into the code of your site.