Security

Video: Top 5 ways to track data breaches

Has one of your accounts been hacked? The short answer is probably yes. Here are five ways to be sure.

Have you been hacked? I'm not talking about your own machine or network. I mean that account you had on a cloud service or website. The short answer is probably yes, since there have been so many data breaches lately.

But how can you be sure?

Here are the top five ways to find out if a site you use has been breached:

1. Wait for an email. Most companies in the US are required to notify customers of breaches. So you might check your spam folder if you suspect something.

2. Make a public records request. Forty-seven US states require companies to disclose when a breach affects their citizens, and most track this data internally. This is not the easiest way but the data is there.

3. Go to public websites from the states who require breach data be made public, including Massachusetts, California, Indiana and Washington. If a company did business in those states you may find the info you need, though it likely won't be specific to your account.

4. Go the US Department of Health and Human Services Wall of Shame. It's less colloquially known as the Breach Portal. It has posted information about patient data breaches since 2009. Of course, this only helps for healthcare breaches.

5. Check your email address at a third party site like Have I been pwned?. These private efforts find and verify database leaks out on the open internet and provide a search tool for you to see if an email was exposed in any of the breaches they've discovered.

Also see:
SecureMyEmail is email encryption for everyone
Hackers claim to have compromised 300 million iCloud accounts, demand money from Apple
How to enable two-factor authentication on Instagram
Here are the top 6 ways websites get hacked, according to Google

About Tom Merritt

Tom is an award-winning independent tech podcaster and host of regular tech news and information shows. Tom hosts Sword and Laser, a science fiction and fantasy podcast, and book club with Veronica Belmont. He also hosts Daily Tech News Show, coverin...

Editor's Picks

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox