You are probably wondering what it means to be ‘pwned’. It’s a slang reference to ‘being owned’. The word pwned refers to having your sensitive, protected, or confidential data viewed, stolen or used by an individual unauthorized to do so generally through hacking. Data breaches may involve personal health information, or personally identifiable information, trade secrets or intellectual property.
We’ve all heard of the huge data breaches on Yahoo, myspace, linked in, adobe, dropbox, tumblr, and more. What you may not be aware of is that once information like passwords are stolen, they are often sold to others on the ‘dark web’ and used not only to break into the accounts they were stolen from but to your other accounts as well because often people use the same usernames and passwords for multiple websites.
The dark web is a place on the internet where you need special kind of programs to access it, it’s anonymous and there are a lot of illegal online activities that go on there. The common person cannot access the dark web, only someone with the right knowledge and equipment can get on.
It is so important to know if any websites you have used have been hacked. You can check to see if you have been pwned at haveibeenpwned.com. When you go there, you just enter in your email and it will tell you if you have been pwned or not and what websites that your email is linked to that have had a data breach.
To avoid being ‘pwned’, make sure you always use a different password for every online account you have. It can be annoying but it is important if you do not want your accounts to be hacked and exploited. To make it easier, you can use a password management system like LastPass. Then you only have to remember 1 password!