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Most major data breach situations are mentioned in the news media or the company involved notifies it’s customers. However, you still may have missed the news or the notification. There is an easy way to find out if your email address is associated with an account that could have been exposed in a data breach. You simply need to go to Have I Been Pwned and enter your email address to find out. “Pwned”, for those of us who are not up on the newest vernacular, is slang for owned, when used for “defeated” or “bested”. HIBP was created by Troy Hunt, an Australian internet security expert and Microsoft Most Valuable Professional.
If you discover that you have been pwned, don’t panic. Read the information about the breach and when it occurred. You may find that the company involved has already required you to change your password. But, if not I would recommend that you change the password for that account and if you use that same password for other accounts that you change them as well depending upon the nature of the account (i.e. credit card attached, data storage). In addition to checking the current status of your accounts you can sign up to receive an email notification of future breaches associated with your email address. For more information about HIBP, see the HIBP FAQ page.