Getting wrapped up in the innumerable data breaches that occur every year isn’t a matter of if, but when. Security breaches run the gamut from the credit rating agency Equifax to the soup and bread bowl peddler Panera, which is why Firefox’s newest feature will notify you directly if any of your passwords have been exposed to the big wide world of hackers.
Originally unveiled in beta in June, Firefox Monitor scans the web for email addresses that have been compromised in various hacks. It’s based on a partnership with Have I Been Pwned, a tool developed by Microsoft developer Troy Hunt that’s been quietly monitoring breaches since 2013. The website’s partnership with Firefox will broaden its reach significantly, however. Firefox’s August data report put the browser’s monthly active user base at 250 million.
Firefox Monitor’s functionality should be familiar to anyone who’s used Have I Been Pwned. After signing up, you input their email address into a search tab, and the tool references it across the scores of compromised accounts spread across the internet. If you’ve been pwned, Monitor will say so.
While your credentials may be leaked by a breach, it doesn’t mean that a wide-scale invasion of your privacy is inevitable. Firefox recommends using different passwords for every online account, which can be tedious, but it’s a worthwhile step to safeguard your information. Additionally, there’s increasingly common measures like two-factor authentication and password managers like LastPass, Dashlane and Keeper that help you organize the clutter of multiple accounts.
With data increasingly susceptible to the nefarious deeds of hackers, it raises the question of whether the password will one day become entirely obsolete out of necessity. At least Firefox is there to help in the interim.
Originally posted on Popular Mechanics