Check if Your Email or Phone Number has Been Leaked in a Data Breach
Nearly 11 million websites are hacked every year, so there’s a good chance some of your data has been involved in a breach at some point. Your accounts may be among the 422 million breached in 2022. These breaches are a problem for privacy and security, but if you can find out what information has been compromised, you can get ahead of it. Read on to learn more about data breaches and find out whether you’ve been pwned.
If you have looked through your email’s spam folder, you can confirm hackers and scammers are still a huge problem online. Whenever you’ve clicked a link, signed up for a newsletter, perused social media, or created an account on a new shopping site, your data has been collected, shared, sold, or potentially leaked in a data breach. With all of this happening at once, how can you tell if your accounts or passwords have been hacked?
It may be an email that you just purchased something from Amazon or a notification from Google that someone has just tried to log in to your account. You may notice mysterious charges on your credit card that weren’t yours. Any time you notice a change you didn’t make or see unfamiliar browsing or purchase information, be wary.
Spyware and malware can take a toll on your device’s performance. You may notice a drop in speed or experience crashes. This is usually a good time to perform a total antivirus and malware scan and look through your recently installed apps to see if there’s anything new you don’t remember installing.
A common tactic for malware attacks is to change your browser’s homepage and default search engine to direct you to malicious websites. If your browser settings have been changed, check for recent browser extension installations and run a malware scan to eliminate potential threats.
The first thing you should do when you learn that your data has been breached is to figure out which accounts have been compromised and change your passwords. Speed here is key — many of these breaches involve thousands of accounts, and hackers can’t access them all at once.
If you change your password quickly, you may stop the threat before it becomes an issue. A password manager can help make this chore quick and efficient, as many offer strong password suggestions, and all can remember that new password for you. Some are even cheap or free.
Next, monitor any relevant financial institutions connected to the breached accounts. The moment you notice a suspicious charge, report it. While it can be a hassle to have your credit or debit cards canceled, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
For the majority of people, what online hackers or scammers are looking for is access to your money. Keep it safe by enabling fraud protection and notifications on your financial accounts.