Technology 3 min read

How to Check if Your Email has Been Compromised

Antonio Guillem |

Antonio Guillem |

How do you know if your email has been compromised? And what do you do if that’s the case?

Nowadays, large-scale hacking attacks have become commonplace. Often, these attacks compromise large commercial databases which contain the personal data of huge numbers of people.

What’s worse is that sometimes these attacks take advantage of “dorks,” or employees of the company supporting the database that responds to an email phishing attempt or leaves certain data unprotected on accident.

From one case to the next, it’s the same story: hackers exploiting vulnerabilities and flaws in a given security system, usually by stealing passwords, using Trojan horses, wireless attacks, and other devious tactics.

Check out HaveIbeenPwned to see if your email has been compromised.Click To Tweet

Recent Biggest Hacks and Security Breaches

Panama Papers:

One of the biggest hacking cases with the deepest consequences in history is the “Panama Papers breach” with the leak of millions of classified documents (2.6 terabytes of data).

Hackers breached the security system of the Mossack Fonseca firm and stole documents that contain intimate information of high-ranking politicians, criminals, and professional athletes.


A DDoS attack (Distributed Denial of Service) is overwhelming a server and make it inaccessible by sending a large number of requests within a short period of time.

On October 21, 2016, websites of Twitter, Airbnb, Spotify, PayPal, Github, Soundcloud, and many others were inaccessible for a couple of hours–mainly for users living on the East coast of the United States. This failure was caused by a massive and sophisticated DDoS attack against the servers of Dyn, a major ISP.


Yahoo has played victim to many massive security breaches, including one at the end of 2014, leading to data leakage involving at least 500 million accounts.

Yahoo suspected a state-backed entity being behind the attack, the Department of Justice has officially implicated a group of four people backed by the Russian government, two Russian intelligence officers and two hackers for the action.

Your Email has Been Compromised? Here’s how to Know and What to do

If you receive replies to messages you have not sent, warning emails about the deletion of your account, or a service you subscribe to starts sending fishy emails, you could have encountered a hacking attempt.

There are many warning signs and, thankfully, there are online services that let you know if your email address has been hacked.

You can check out services such as “Have I Been Pwned” by entering your email address in the corresponding field and the feature will tell you if you’ve been compromised.

If your mail is indeed listed, you will be shown the websites to which your email may have leaked.

You should then ask the website to remove the leaked information, keep an eye on your bank accounts and, obviously, change your password ASAP.

There are some rules to follow to create a strong password: use as many characters as you can, use numbers, upper and lowercase letters, and special characters. Don’t use a word that can be found in a dictionary, and don’t reuse the password. Also, remember to always turn on the two-factor authentication.

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

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