It’s the question lurking in many people’s minds, especially during the frenzy of online Christmas shopping: has my email account been hacked?
MELANI has got your back – up to a point. The Reporting and Analysis Centre for Information Assurance (MELANI), is part of the Swiss Federal Intelligence Service. They have recently come into possession of a database with 21,000 combinations of compromised email usernames and passwords. Intriguingly, the list was supplied by a confidential source that MELANI can neither identify nor corroborate.
Nevertheless, if you want to know if you’re on the list, you can quickly check on the MELANI website.
The MELANI site also has helpful info, in English, on types of threats and how to protect yourself. And you can report (anonymously, if you wish) to MELANI any hacking attempts you believe may have been made against you.
MELANI recommends anyone who suspects their online identity has been hacked to take these steps:
- Change the password on your email account and all online accounts linked to the email address concerned – email is often used to reset forgotten passwords. It’s an easy way into any online accounts associated with the email account.
- Create a unique password for each online service.
- Enable two-factor authentication when this option is available. This often means adding your mobile phone.
- In the coming weeks, check all account statements. If you notice any irregularities, contact your bank or the company immediately.
- Inform everyone in your contacts that they should be wary when receiving an email from your address, and if in doubt ask for confirmation.
Happy online shopping!
By Bill Harby