How to know if you’ve been hacked

Worried you've been hacked? Use these sites to find out and protect yourself

These days, data breaches are growing more numerous — and more worrisome. After all, how are you supposed to protect your passwords and login information when they are being stolen from enormous company databases that you have no control over?

The best way is to find out if your security has been compromised as soon as possible so you can take personal action, which is where data breach detection websites come into play. These sites allow you to securely search through the latest hacked data to see if any of your sensitive information is at risk. We’ve rounded up four of the best for you to use based on your security needs, so let’s dive in.

Have I Been Pwned?

Have I Been Pwned

Have I Been Pwned is one of the oldest, most popular, and best sites in the game. The site works hard to track down breaches, verify them as legitimate, and nab data so you can check it out. You can read more about site runner Troy Hunt and his thoughts on the business here.

Once you log onto the site, you’ll be greeted with a basic search bar and a list of the latest and largest breaches. Just type in your email or username, and the site will search the breached data and showcase any red flags. You can also search more sensitive breaches, but only if you take the time to verify your email address. There’s also an option to deep link straight to a particular account, so you can instantly bring up results for one particular email address if you plan on doing a lot of repeated searches.

It’s a simple tool that still allows for some customization as needed. Moreover, it’s obvious that Hunt really cares about this sort of white hat work, as well as educating users on the dangers of data breaches.

BreachAlarm

best websites for finding out if youve been hacked breachalarm01

BreachAlarm has been set up, perhaps a little too obviously, as a competitor to Have I Been Pwned. But that doesn’t make this site a poor choice. Along with its free email checking service, it also has paid-for notification and protective services you can take advantage of.

The ones that cost you upwards of $30 a year are probably more than you need, but if you are looking for a service more oriented toward small businesses or large families, you may prefer BreachAlarm and it’s highly organized approach to data breaches. There’s also no law against checking multiple hack verification sites just to make sure!

DeHashed

best websites for finding out if youve been hacked dehashed01

DeHashed works in a similar manner to other options on this list, but where they focus on email addresses, DeHashed has everything. Want to see if your name appears in any hacked lists? You can. You could even check to see if your password is on any lists, although we’d caution putting your password into anything but the login form it’s required for — or a password manager.

This tool isn’t as easy to use as some of the others and unless you pay, some search results will be censored, but it’s comprehensive in ways that the others aren’t, making it a great alternative tool to see if you’re vulnerable.

Sucuri Security Scanner

Sucuri Security Scanner

Sucuri’s Security Scanner takes a different approach — it allows you to check an entire site for any signs of bugs, blacklisting, security vulnerabilities, and the presence of hackers. It’s an ideal tool for bloggers and online businesses, but it should be used in addition to other sites that check emails and usernames, just to be safe.

Sucuri also offers a broader suite of security and malware removal services than most, with fees that reach hundreds per year for the professional options. There’s also an option for a WordPress plugin and a Chrome extension for more consistent monitoring.

How do these websites work?

data breaches - information is beautiful

These hack searchers typically work by aggregating data from other sources commonly used to seek hacked data and share it with others. These secondary sources — Pastebin, individual leakers, dark web forums — can be nefarious, which makes it very easy for enterprising hackers to access passwords and login info from data breaches and try them out. Hack search sites, however, use such data tricks as a force for good, allowing you to peek into the same data breach info and see if your own info is there. If it is, you can then change your login data to protect yourself from future trouble.

Unfortunately, there are supposed “security sites” that ironically just want to collect your email and login info for future fraud attempts. Others try tools and features that aren’t well-understood and end up creating even more serious data breaches before abruptly collapsing. You can read what happened to the once-popular Pwnedlist, if you’re in need of a prime example.

Smart Home

After camera hacks, Nest locks customers out until they change their password

Nest is locking people out of their accounts if it believes there may have been a breach. Users will have to set up a new, secure password before they are able to regain access to their account.
Home Theater

Still wondering why you should buy a smart TV? Here's what you should consider

If you've been living under a rock, you might wonder: What is a smart TV, anyway? Luckily, we've put together a quick-hit guide to teach you everything you need to know about televisions with big brains.
Computing

Lost your router? Here's how to find its IP address to help track it down

Changing the login information for your router isn't always easy, that's why so many have that little card on the back. But in order to use it, you need to know where to go. Here's how to find the IP address of your router.
Gaming

Here’s how to set up a virtual private network (VPN) on your Xbox One

Online privacy is more important now than it's ever been, and gaming is happening online more than ever before. Here's a quick guide on how to set up a VPN for your Xbox One so you game in safe anonymity.
Computing

Still miss Windows 7? Here's how to make Windows 10 look more like it

There's no simple way of switching on a Windows 7 mode in Windows 10. Instead, you can install third-party software, manually tweak settings, and edit the registry. We provide instructions for using these tweaks and tools.
Computing

Dodge the biggest laptop-buying mistakes with these handy tips

Buying a new laptop is exciting, but you need to watch your footing. There are a number of pitfalls you need to avoid and we're here to help. Check out these top-10 laptop buying mistakes and how to avoid them.
Computing

The rumors were true. Nvidia’s 1660 Ti GPU, a $280 powerhouse, has arrived

Nvidia has officially launched the GTX 1660 Ti, its next-generation, Turing-based GPU. It promises to deliver all the performance and efficiency for all modern games, but without stepping into the high price range of the RTX series. 
Computing

Great PC speakers don't need to break the bank. These are our favorites

Not sure which PC speakers work best with your computer? Here are the best computer speakers on the market, whether you're working with a tight budget or looking to rattle your workstation with top-of-the-line audio components.
Computing

Confused about RSS? Don't be. Here's what it is and how to use it

What is an RSS feed, anyway? This traditional method of following online news is still plenty useful. Let's take a look at what RSS means, and what advantages it has in today's busy world.
Computing

Everything you need to know about routers, modems, combos, and mesh networks

Modem vs. router: what's the difference? We explain their functions so you can better diagnose any issues prior to contacting technical support. We also talk about a few variants you'll see offered by ISPs and retailers.
Computing

Metro Exodus update brings DLSS improvements to Nvidia RTX 20-series PCs

Having issues in Metro Exodus? A February 21 update for the title recently delivered enhancements to Nvidia’s deep learning supersampling feature and other fixes for low-specced PCs. 
Computing

Limited-time sale knocks $500 off the price of the Razer Blade Pro 17

Looking for an ultra-powerful laptop for yourself or someone else? You're in for some luck. Razer is running a sale on some of its best gaming laptops, cutting down pricing on the Razer Blade 15 and the Razer Blade Pro 17. 
Emerging Tech

Engineer turns his old Apple lle into an wheeled robot, and even gives it a sword

How do you give new life to a 30-year-old computer? Software engineer Mike Kohn found a way by transforming his old Apple IIe into a wheeled robot. Check it out in all its 1980s glory.
Gaming

Want to play as Iron Man or Waluigi in GTA V? Our favorite mods make it possible

Grand Theft Auto V is best on the PC for many reasons, and modifications may be the most important. You can cause riots, spawn unique cars, and play as a cop with just a few extra files.