Have you been hacked?

SpyCloud is a scary and useful website. Scary, because it showed me how many times my passwords have been hacked from website databases. Useful, because I quickly changed those passwords to protect myself. A personal account is free. Do this now. — MF

SecurityClaudia Dawson
Hacker checkup

As part of my regular digital hygiene I type my email into the website “Have I Been Pwned?” to see if my email/password has been leaked to hackers by a sloppy company. They will tell me if and when a breach occurred which yielded my email on a list for sale on the dark web. This is an indication to change my password for that login. The check site is free, instant, no signups, and specific in needed action. — KK

SecurityClaudia Dawson
See what other websites know about you

Visit Webkay to see what any website you visit knows about you including your location, the device you are using, your IP address, social media accounts you are logged in to, and more. It also tells you how to plug these information leaks by using various services. — MF

SecurityClaudia Dawson
Mobile justice

If you spot police officers doing something wrong, you can record them with the free Mobile Justice app from the ACLU. It sends the video directly to an ACLU server so even if the police illegally confiscate your phone they won’t be able to delete the incriminating video. — MF

SecurityClaudia Dawson
Downloading my Facebook data

I’m keeping my Facebook account, but for educational purposes I downloaded all the data Facebook has on me. I highly recommend you do the same, just so you know what the bargain is. Start with this link, and follow the directions. You’ll get an email with a new link that will enable you to download a zip file. The folder with the most goodies is the Index page. Go back and adjust your privacy settings as desired. — KK

SecurityClaudia Dawson
Keep tabs on neighborhood crime

If you don’t have a Ring doorbell or security camera installed, you can still be alerted of nearby crimes and theft using the Neighbors by Ring app. Once you set up the parameters for your neighborhood you can watch video footage of suspicious activity posted by neighbors (up to 5 miles away). I already own Ring products, so I set up the free Neighbors app to alert me of crimes in my Dad’s neighborhood that I can then forward on to him.— CD 

SecurityClaudia Dawson
Virtual credit card

Privacy is a browser extension that generates a virtual credit card for each online purchase you make. It offers different options when you create a virtual card — you can make a one-time-use card, a card with a limit (so that it expires once a certain amount is spent), or other kinds of limits. This seems like a great way to protect yourself from getting scammed by one of those sites that trick you into unwittingly signing up for a nearly-impossible-to-cancel monthly fee for something. — MF

SecurityClaudia Dawson
Secure messaging

Edward Snowden recommends the free encrypted chat and call app Signal. It works on Android, iOS and the desktop. Built by volunteer Open Source contributors and a group of grant-funded developers, Signal is slick and solid. I’m asking everyone I know to start using it. — MF

SecurityClaudia Dawson
Secure surfing

For internet security pay extremely close attention to the url bar in your browser. For just reading it’s not so important, but if it is a site that you want to log into with a password you should make sure it is secure by examining the url in Chrome. Sites that are insecure will say “Not Secure” to left of the url. (Secure sites will not display anything beyond the url.) If not secure, enter info with great caution. — KK

SecurityClaudia Dawson
Password manager

If you are not already using a password manager like 1Password, Dashlane, or LastPass you are inviting trouble. I am not a very security minded person generally, but a password manager on your phone, tablets, laptops and desktops is outright essential today. Let it generate strong passwords for you, keep your credit card and bank info, and supply them wherever and whenever you need them. No regrets. — KK

SecurityClaudia Dawson