Showing posts with label Cyber Hygiene. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cyber Hygiene. Show all posts

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Is your computer compromised?

Easy way to check if your computer is/was compromised now or in the past

With the recent addition of Naz.API dataset (a massive collection of over 1 billion stolen username and passwords) to HIBP service ("Have I Been Pwned" - a service by, it is now very easy to check if your computer is compromised by information stealing malware now or in the past. 

Go to the HIBP service at and enter your e-mail (don’t worry, it is 100% safe) and check the search results. The results may span several pages, so make sure to scroll down and check all the breaches your email is listed as compromised. Keep in mind that it is not at all unusual to see your email show up on multiple breaches. For example, see the screenshot below of my own email search.

As you scroll through the list, check if your email is listed for Naz.API. If your email was one of the unfortunate one to be included in the Naz.API list, it is a clear indication that your computer is now or in the past was compromised and information was stolen. The very least you can do is to make sure your current password is not included in the list. There are couple of ways you can check. I know some password managers like 1Password for example can check all your passwords against HIBP database. If you don’t use any tools that support checking your password in HIBP database you are welcome to use my php script at my GitHub repo below which does the same thing, the only caveat is that it checks one password at a time against HIBP database, so you have to repeat that for all your passwords.

How to run: If you are on a Mac or Linux, you can run the script directly with the two commands as shown below ... If you are windows, you have to install php, curl etc first which is beyond the scope of this blog.

curl -s -o /tmp/pwned_password.php
php /tmp/pwned_password.php

If you are unfortunate to have your password listed in HIBP as per the tools (1Password or my script or any others that check your password against HIBP), and if it is any of your current passwords, change it ASAP and enable 2F if that’s not already in place. If your current password is not found, it means an old password you used in the past was compromised. Still, it is a good idea to change all your passwords ASAP.

If you use more than one email address now or in the past, repeat this for each e-mail.

For further details can be found at the following links

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

New Year, New Password!

As part of your new year’s resolution, it is a good idea to get your online security a fresh start in 2024. With cyber threats becoming an unfortunate norm these days, it's time to enhance your cyber hygiene to protect yourself from becoming a cybercrime victim this year. Change all your online account passwords, especially financial/banking, shopping, social media accounts. The following is a list of things to consider.

  • Change your passwords (also change username if permitted)
  • Enable password-less logins if available.
  • If you don’t have 2F enabled, make sure to enable it.
  • If the site supports stronger 2-factor mechanisms, like Authenticator app or better yet hardware key based, use that instead of SMS based 2-factor; While SMS based is better than just password alone, it is prone to attacks like SIM swap scams 
  • Validate your recovery mechanisms.
    • Reset recovery app keys (if any)
    • Validate recovery e-mail.
    • Reset onetime login codes.
  • Last but not least, invalidate all logins (i.e. log out from all devices and log back in). Though this step may be enforced by the password change, some sites don’t enforce it.

Remember, cyber hygiene is like flossing, not the most glamorous, but essential for long-term digital health. This year, make your online security a resolution you actually stick to. Have a safe 2024 and beyond!

Saturday, July 1, 2023

Three Simple Online Banking Safety Tips

Here are three simple steps you can take while doing online banking to minimize your chances of becoming a victim. As the title says, these steps are simple and does not take much time or effort to follow.

  1. Before login to your banking website for financial transactions or to even review your bank statement etc., close all tabs in your browser. If you are paranoid, temporarily disable any browser plugins you may have installed which you can turn on later.
  2. When you are logged into your banking website, do not do anything else like google search, Facebook, Instagram, or any other browsing specifically, read emails or worse, click on a link your buddy sent you to "check it out". You can do all that after step#3 below.
  3. Once you are done with your online banking business, make sure to log off. Many secure banking web sites these days do protect you by logging you off automatically. However, don’t rely on them because there are still some stupid online banking web sites that don’t properly log you out in a reasonable time or worse, don't do anything.

Simple Cyber Hygiene Practice

Here is some advice on simple cyber hygiene practices to protect yourself online. You really don't have to take extreme steps to bulletproof your online accounts because if a persistent and determined cyber criminals decided to target you (i.e., spear phishing), there is very little you can do to stop them especially if you are a high value target. Luckily most of us don't fall into that category unless you are dumb enough to divulge your personal info by posting on social media that makes you a target. However, with a bit of effort on your part, you can make it slightly harder for cybercriminals to scam you so they will move on to easy targets. 

"You don’t have to run faster than the bear to get away. You just have to run faster than the guy next to you."

Trust me, there are still stupid people out there who use "123456" as password (BTW: "123456" is one of the top 10 passwords in 2022 including "password") feeding this fast growing $8 trillion cybercrime business. 

Now, how do you make it "slightly harder"? The answer is, as you may have heard many times, don't just rely on user/password alone even if you have a strong password like "~ti0ah5%#W". Though a strong password is the first step in making it harder, it does not always protect you in all cases as there are ways criminals find a way to gain access to your stuff. So, ensure that you enable 2FA (two factor authentication) wherever it is offered. If multiple methods are provided for 2FA like SMS & authenticator, choose the latter as SMS based 2FA is a false sense of security though it is better than just user/password.