Been Pwned? How Do I Find Out If This Impacts Me?

2019 January 22 UPDATE: Based on recent news stories, the “been pwned” information has been updated here:



Although this website has been around for a few years, I’ve only just found out about it.  It’s called Have I Been Pwned and it lets you know if your email address has been compromised in any way.


A little history about the word Pwned:

The Urban Dictionary postulates that Pwned came into use after one of the designers for the game Warcraft typo’d “has been pwned” instead of “has been owned”. Another Urban Dictionary contributor says it is actually a commonly used chess term, where you use your pawn to check your opponent. Regardless of the various definitions, the word essentially means that you have been owned or dominated.

Have I Been Pwned?been pwned?

Head over to Have I Been Pwned to find out if your email and other personal information has been hacked by bad operators.  They will also tell you on which websites or apps the data breach has occurred.  For example, I found out that my both my personal and business emails have been pwned.  I immediately changed the password for both accounts.  It also told me that the breach came from my Dropbox account.  I then changed my login information on Dropbox as well. Another breach occurred on my LinkedIn account so I changed my info there too.

What can you do to keep your information safe?

  1. Change your password frequently. I change my passwords every 3-6 weeks.
  2. Never use the same password again!
  3. MOST IMPORTANT: Use a password that is hard to guess.  Make sure you use at least 10 characters.  You should use at least one of each of the following: an uppercase letter, a lowercase letter, a number, and a special character.  I always end with punctuation too. Lately, I’ve been using book titles to craft secure passwords.  So “The New Relationship Marketing” would become “th3NewRel@t1onshipMarket1ng;”  (Check it out.  It’s a great book by Mari Smith.)
  4. Next, always keep track of your passwords using a secure system.  I use a password protected spreadsheet. (I’ve recently heard of two people who lost access to their online password tracking system. They had to go to each of their apps and change their passwords!)

Let me know if you have a great tip for setting up great, secure passwords.

Here’s some more reading on the whole pwned subject:

Please forward this to your colleagues who never change their passwords.

Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.

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Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past eighteen years.  His company is highly rated by both the BBB and by Angie’s List.  You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

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