Are you concerned about your personal data after the abuses of online personal information that have happened recently? You are concerned that your email passwords were stolen and being followed? The PwnedList site will help you discover if your personal data leaked.

If you have an account with a company whose servers have been hacked, it’s nerve-wracking to wonder whether or not your private data has been leaked on the Internet. Thankfully, a new web service seeks to aggregate all the leaked account data on the Internet and make it easy for you to check and see if you’re on the list.

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PwnedList ( is the brainchild of Alen Puzic, a professional security intelligence researcher partial to a bit of “white-hat” hacker work. PwnedList was born in July 2011 as a public service to help privacy-minded people verify the security of their online accounts.

“Our goal was to design a simple-to-use online portal where an average user could check to see if his or her account credentials were leaked,” said Puzic. Within a week, Puzic and his team (including security researchers Stephen Thomas and Jasiel Spelman) had gathered more than a million hacked accounts from websites like The Pirate Bay and PasteBin, social networks like Twitter, and even hacker forums and chatrooms. At the time of the interview, PwnedList had been operating for almost six months, with its database approaching 10 million entries.


Even though the staffs at PwnedList are constantly seeking out compromised usernames, email addresses, and passwords, they don’t store all that information in the PwnedList database. Instead, they take all the compromised account data they find and use an algorithm to create a unique string of alphanumeric characters for every username and email address. They then save the strings in the PwnedList database before deleting the actual login information. This procedure means that no hacker can crack the PwnedList database and gain access to a single list of the hundreds of thousands of compromised accounts that the PwnedList team is aggregated.

However, the huge database of PwnedList is just a giant list of alphanumeric strings without relevant data like passwords or domain names, the service can tell you only whether or not a particular name or email is on the list; PwnedList offered no way for you to know exactly how your email was compromised or which site was hacked. That will probably change with the next version, though.

“We’re working hard to make more metadata available on our site, including the name of the site/company that hosts the account, the number of accounts contained in the leak, the date we found the leak, and (if possible) the name of the hacker group that we believe published the data,” says Puzic.

But ultimately that extra data, while helpful, doesn’t really matter; what matters is that sites like PwnedList help you take an active role in verifying whether your private data has been compromised. If you’re unlucky enough to find your favorite username or email address on the list, don’t panic! Chances are your data hasn’t been compromised yet, but to be safe, you should assume that you’re the victim of a data breach and take a few common-sense steps to recover from it. Update all your accounts with better passwords, put a fraud alert on your credit report, and monitor your financial statements for a few months for signs of tampering.