New website lets users check if their online credentials were exposed in large data leaks

The site combines email addresses corresponding to accounts exposed in data breaches at Adobe, Yahoo, Stratfor, Gawker and Sony

A new website allows Internet users to check if their usernames and passwords were exposed in some of the largest data breaches in recent years.

The site is called haveibeenpwned.com and was created by Australian software architect Troy Hunt. It allows users to check if their email addresses are present in user databases leaked from Adobe Systems this year, Yahoo in 2012, Sony and Stratfor in 2011 and Gawker in 2010.

The Adobe data breach came to light in October and is considered to be the largest, publicly known, leak of user information in history. Over 153 million user records, including email addresses and poorly encrypted passwords, were exposed as a result of the incident.

Several security researchers created websites that allow users to check if they've been affected by the Adobe breach, but Hunt wanted a website that maps email addresses across multiple data breaches. This kind of correlation is important because a large number of people reuse their email addresses and passwords on multiple websites.

In 2012 Hunt compared the user records leaked from Sony and Yahoo and found that 59 percent of people with accounts in both databases used the same password.

The haveibeenpwned.com website does not store any of the leaked passwords, only the email addresses.

"I just don't need them [the passwords] and frankly, I don't want the responsibility either," Hunt said in a blog post. "This is all about raising awareness of the breadth of breaches."

Importing the data into the website was no easy task, with the Adobe database containing over 152 million records, Stratfor almost 860,000, Gawker over 530,000, Yahoo 453,000 and Sony 37,000. Hunt published a separate blog post about the technical aspects of working with the large dataset.

Combining the data into a single database also revealed some interesting statistics. "When I added the Stratfor breach to the existing Adobe records, 16% of the email addresses were already in the system," he said. "I moved onto Sony and 17% of them were already there. Yahoo! was 22%."

"Whilst not the chronological order in which the breaches occurred, what this demonstrated is that subsequent data sets showed a high correlation between new breach data and existing records in the system and that's the very reason why I created this site," Hunt said.

Hunt plans to keep adding data into the system from future data breaches and asked everyone aware of leaked user databases that are publicly available and haven't yet been included in the project to let him know. "No, don't go and breach a system in order to contribute to this project!" he said.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags privacysonyYahooonline safetyAdobe SystemsgawkerStratfor

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?