First, a minor linguistic lesson in Internet vernacular for the uninitiated:
So, the question is: "Have I been pwned..?"
And we're asking ourselves about our own digital citizenship, our virtual identity, on-line. Just as we are educating our students, this is a step toward being knowledgeable and immersing ourselves in a future-ready culture that includes the World-Wide Web, replete with the dangers that are hidden from those ignorant of their existence.
I imagine we have all heard of "data breaches" such as those discussed in articles such as this one (https://gizmodo.com/mother-of-all-breaches-exposes-773-million-emails-21-m-1831833456).
Those paying attention who utilize Snapchat (data breach, late 2013), LinkedIn (2012), and various other on-line services may have already taken some precautions (or not?) to ensure that even if their username or password or personal data was more eminently "at-risk" at some point that they are subsequently back to a safest "high ground" in their digital presence and/or habits.
Merely having had your data in a breach does not necessarily mean that a "hacker" out there is actively stealing your identity and/or signing you up for Pakistani credit cards with 45% APR or anything like that (although that aligns with some of the most worrisome concerns). It's just like 50 years ago when all we had were names, addresses, phone numbers, etc, that people could use to commit very similar, non-digital, types of criminal fraud, etc. Sure, it's relatively easy to get that information. Our e-mail addresses, our names, basic personal data might not be terribly difficult to obtain. Therefore, being as careful as we can on a day-to-day basis is the best-practice habit that we strive to meet.
Before we go too much further I have to cover one more idea, real quick: There is a difference between a "professional" account and a "personal" account. Officially, we're providing all this, professionally, as a way to help you keep your work accounts safe because our users, every user, is a part of our network security by maintaining good end-user security. BUT, perk of the job! You can use this information for your personal accounts "at home" too!
If you're in the "...whoops..." crowd, this article is FOR you! The Slide presentation below (6 slides, total) will walk you through some beginner steps toward shoring up your account and password security across your various services (if you read and interacted with the link above, you may have a bit of a head-start, depending how far you got on your own).
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