… I Been Compromised?

Breach vs Compromise

A breach is when your system has been attacked. See How do you known you’ve been breached? A compromise is when your data is in someone else’s system and they’ve been attacked.

Get told or find out

Some states require you to be told that you’ve been compromised. Some states have multiple exceptions so you don’t have to get told. See When do you get told your data was compromised.

There are sites that let you search stolen data sets, but there is only one I know that lets you search multiple sets with one query. That is Troy Hunt’s Have I Been Pwned.

For those a little caught out on the lingo, “pwned” is reported to have come from a misprint on a game map. It should have been “owned”. Pwn is the verb form of own. The term means to appropriate or gain ownership from the rightful owner.

Hunt’s web site allows lookups based on email address or username. Be aware, not all email addresses were verified, so simply finding “your” email address was used does not mean you used it. Usernames are even less secure and can be your complete name, completely created by someone else. I used the site and found my most common user name had been compromised via SnapChat. I never did SnapChat so it wasn’t me.

There is a list of all the sites covered. Hunt has a special note regarding the Ashley Madison breach. Anonymous users to the Have I Been Pwned web site will not be able to search it. His logic is excellent regarding the potentially volatile information which cannot be considered reliable.

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