Was Your Password Leaked? Here’s How You Can Protect Yourself

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Is It Possible To Save A Breached Account?

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  • You can check for password leaks using password dumps such as Have I Been Pwned.
  • New passwords should have a mixture of characters, numbers, and symbols. Online random password generators are an excellent way to create a mass dump of passwords.
  • Enabling Two-Factor Authorization (2FA) creates a second verification wall, in addition to a strong password, further securing accounts.
  • Password managers such as Proton Pass help store all the online account passwords in one secure place.

I’m sure you must have heard the horror stories of people’s passwords getting leaked thanks to data breaches and the thought that something like that could never happen to you. If it did, and your password leaked, here are a few methods to determine whether your data has been breached and how to protect yourself.

Checking If Your Password Has Been Leaked

If you find suspicious movement in your account or get a notification that a new device has logged into your account, you may have been hacked or your password leaked. To determine whether it’s the latter, you can check password dumps to assess whether any passwords connected to your email have gone public.

The process is pretty simple. Here’s what you have to do:

  1. Go to the Have I Been Pwned website.
  2. Enter the email ID you believe has been leaked.
  3. Wait for the website to determine the results.
  4. Subscribe to the website to check sensitive breaches.

Even if your email ID is safe and the website finds no issues, it’s possible you were hacked. In any case, you’ll have to change your password. Here’s an example of the status of my email ID on the website.

checking if my password has been leaked
Checking if my password has been leaked

The Importance Of Changing Passwords

Let’s say you discovered your password on a dumping website; it’s time to change it. I know it can be quite a hassle to update passwords, but it’s better than getting hacked and having your private data in the hands of the public. Therefore, to avoid getting your password being found out again, here’s a short checklist for you to follow to create a stronger password:

  • Use a diverse combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.
  • Avoid easily guessable passwords, such as your name, birth date, and pet’s name.
  • Longer passwords, up to at least 12 characters, are preferred in most cases.
  • Use a unique password for all your internet accounts.

If you still can’t create a strong password, I recommend using a random password generator to create new passwords for all your accounts. Passwords like the following are an excellent way to prevent yourself from getting hacked; however, ensure you don’t accept all the cookies from the website.

Generating random passwords
Generating random passwords. (Image By Tech4Gamers)

Why Having Two-Factor Authentication Is A Must-Have

Having a solid password isn’t enough these days. Hence, that’s where Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) comes in place, adding an extra layer of security to your online accounts. In addition to your account’s password, with 2FA, you have a second verification method: a code or a fingerprint sent to your phone.

This practice makes it extremely difficult for hackers to get into your account, even if they have your password from a data breach. I have enabled 2FA on all my accounts, giving me a sense of peace that no one can get inside uninvited. Using an app such as Authy will allow you to easily set up 2FA on your accounts.

Using A Password Manager

After resetting your passwords and enabling 2FA for your accounts, you may be unsure how to remember each password. That’s where password managers come in. These tools allow you to store all your passwords in a secure, encrypted place; usually, you only need to remember the manager’s master password.

Numerous password managers exist, from paid tools like Dashlane to free tools like Proton Pass, which I also use. The latter works as a Chrome extension, so you don’t have to download separate software for your accounts. You can download its mobile app, though.

Taking Control Of Your Password Security

In the end, strong and unique passwords with 2FA enabled are the only ways to protect your online accounts in today’s risk-filled internet where privacy remains a concern. Regularly checking for data breaches and staying vigilant against phishing scams are other vital steps that can save you from many headaches.

Hence, by taking these measures, you can significantly reduce the chance of getting hacked or having your password leaked. Moreover, I also don’t recommend using public chargers, even though they are usually safe and hacking attempts are difficult through them.

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