Mozilla has partnered with Troy Hunt, a Microsoft Regional Director, to create a more user-friendly service where users can check whether or not their email addresses have been exposed in previous data breaches. Mozilla’s new tool, called Firefox Monitor, has API access to Hunt’s Have I Been Pwned database of billions of emails exposed in data breaches.
Early Data Breach Notifications
The free Firefox Monitor service functions much like Hunt’s Have I Been Pwned. You can search for your email address in the service’s search box, and if your email was exposed in a data breach you’ll be shown when that happened and which service, specifically, was hacked.
The tool can also proactively alert you when your email was exposed in a new data breach. This should give you time to change your password for the exposed accounts before the malicious hackers can act on that stolen information.
Keeping Breached Companies Honest
Firefox Monitor should ensure that even when a company that suffered a data breach keeps the hack a secret, you can still learn about the breach. Many companies tend to keep the breach a secret for weeks or longer until they have figured out what happened, something that’s not always in the user’s best interest.
Furthermore, if the company's security hasn’t been up to par until the data breach happened, they may realize that the users might blame them for not properly securing the accounts, thus creating a larger PR scandal. Therefore, before making the hack public, companies may want to also upgrade and modernize their systems to assure users that this sort of data exposure at least won’t be possible anymore in the future, even if damage was already done.
Hunt’s Have I Been Pwned database would often include emails from new data breaches that hadn’t yet been made public. Security researchers might tell him first if they discovered a new data breach themselves, or if they saw hacked data being sold on underground markets. The Firefox Monitor is available to an audience wider than what Hunt could reach alone.