What PWNED Means and Why It's Important

May 12th · 3 min read

Pwned is a term used in the computer security community to indicate that an attacker has taken control of a system or resource. The word is derived from "owned," which is often used to describe the act of taking over another person's computer or account. Owned simply means that someone has control of something but does not necessarily imply that they have taken it over from someone else or have malicious intent.

So, to sum up, pwned means that an attacker has taken control of a system or resource, while owned implies that someone has possession of something.

Pwned Passwords:

Pwned Passwords is a searchable database of over 500 million passwords that have been exposed in data breaches. Troy Hunt, a Microsoft regional director, and security expert, maintains the database.

Clients can use the Pwned Passwords database to check if a password has been compromised in a data breach. This is important because using a compromised password puts a person at risk of having their accounts hacked.

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To check if a password has been compromised, go to the Pwned Passwords website and enter the password in the search box. If the password has been exposed in a data breach, you will be able to see how many times it has been found in the database.

If you find that your password has been compromised, you should change it as soon as possible. It would help if you also considered using a password manager to generate and store strong passwords for your accounts.

Pwned email addresses:

In addition to passwords, the Pwned Passwords database also contains over 5.3 billion breached email addresses. Users can employ this information to see if an email address has been exposed in a data breach.

To check if an email address has been compromised, go to the Have I Been Pwned website and enter the email address in the search box. If the email address has been exposed to a data breach, you will see a list of the breaches that will help you determine which one it was found in.

If you find that an email address you are using has been compromised, you should change your password for that account and enable two-factor authentication if it is available. You should also be careful of phishing emails that may trick you into giving away your personal information.

What to do if you've been pwned:

If you find that your password or email address has been compromised in a data breach, you can do a few things to protect yourself.

  • Change your password
  • Enable two-factor authentication
  • Be careful of phishing emails
  • Keep your software up to date
  • Use a VPN
  • Avoid public Wi-Fi
  • Use strong passwords
  • Don't click on links in emails
  • Use an antivirus program
  • Back up your data
  • Encrypt your data
  • Get help if you're a victim of cybercrime

Cyber security is a tricky subject and one that we are constantly learning new things about. Pwned is just one term that you may come across in becoming more cyber-savvy. Keep in mind that pwned means that an attacker has taken control of a system or resource, and take steps to protect yourself accordingly.

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