Mozilla Firefox Rolls Out New Service to Monitor Data Breaches

A new free service will alert users if their information has been stolen.
A person works on a laptop

If you’re among the individuals who browse the Interweb using Google Chrome, you’re in good company: 60% of worldwide users prefer Chrome over its competitors—Safari, Internet Explorer and Firefox, among others—whose combined usage don’t even come close to scratching the surface of Chrome’s dominance. But if you care about online security, you may want to consider Mozilla Firefox, which just announced the launch of Firefox Monitor, a service that puts data breaches on high alert.

How does Firefox Monitor work

Mozilla is offering the Firefox Monitor service through a partnership with Have I Been Pwned? (HIBP), a free web tool that scans the internet to see if anyone has compromised your account or posted your personal info online to be sold.

Once a user provides their email address to Firefox Monitor, the service compares it against a list of data breaches and alerts you when a match occurs. And while your personal information may have already been compromised, the idea behind the service is to allow users to be more proactive about good password hygiene, whether that means changing your online security passwords, installing a password manager extension or activating two-factor authentication to guard against future data breaches.

The service also enables you to sign up for proactive notifications, so you'll be alerted if your data is compromised in the future.

Data breaches are becoming more common

The number of data breaches has sharply increased over the past 13 years, according to data analysis firm Statista. In 2005, there were just 157 reported data breaches in the U.S. Last year, there were 1,579, including the nationwide Equifax data breach. During that timeframe, we've also grown a lot more comfortable saving our passwords, photos and other personal information online.

The annual number of data breaches and exposed records since 2005

Besides Firefox, other browsers are implementing stronger security tools in light of the growing number of data breaches and scammers trying to steal your information. For example, Google Chrome recently released a tool that generates unique passwords for each account you create, and Apple updated its Safari browser to limit invasive ad tracking.

In the worse case scenario—you do discover that your information has been stolen—consider requesting a credit freeze so that criminals can't open any fraudulent accounts in your name. Once your credit is frozen, you can contact your home insurance or credit card companies to see if they offer any help with rebuilding your credit.

Daniel Caughill

Daniel is a Staff Writer at ValuePenguin, covering insurance, retirement and other personal finance topics. He previously wrote about compliance and best practices for K-12 school districts at Frontline Education.

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