This Password Appeared in a Data Leak | Steps You Can Take

” This password appeared in a data leak” can feel terrifying at a glance. Your password is the only fine border that’s keeping apart an adversary from compromising all your digital information.

This notification on your iPhone is an alert that your password associated with an account on your iPhone has been found in a publicly accessible database of breached credentials. You can tap on each notification to see which website was breached.

The notification of your password appearing in a data leak is a cybersecurity feature that was implemented by Apple through a security update that was rolled out to iPhones running on iOS 14 and above.

This feature can be turned On or Off from the Settings >> Passwords >> Security Recommendations.

The words “password” and “data leak”, when appended together, can wreak havoc and anxiety in your mind and bug you with questions concerning the safety of your digital life.

In this article, we will delve deep into what exactly “this password appeared in a data leak” notification on iPhone means, the severity of it, and draw the bottom line of how to mitigate this apparent threat so you can rest easy and rid yourself of the anxiety.

This Password Appeared in a Data” What does it Mean?

“This password appeared in a data leak” is a tell-tale sign of a security breach and it means that there has been a data leak in which a password associated with your accounts was found to be compromised. This feature was implemented by Apple in all iPhones running iOS 14 or above. You can enable or disable this feature from the Settings >> Passwords >> Security Recommendations setting.

Earlier, you had to visit the haveibeenpwned website and manually check if your emails and passwords are secure. But, with this update, Apple made it really convenient to keep in check the integrity of your passwords and whether they are safe to use anymore.

How Did Your Password Appear in a Data Leak?

The most common way in which your passwords are leaked to the public is when there is a security breach in a company that collects private information like email, passwords, etc.

data leak
Picture Credit: Haveibeenpwned

For an instance, if a social media site like Facebook or Instagram gets breached, the adversary(ies) will gain access to a massive database of usernames, emails, passwords, and tons of other sensitive data which was otherwise private. These databases are dumped and then sold illegally to bidders on the Dark Net.

Oftentimes, these databases are released to the public internet. Essentially, what it means is that anyone who knows their way around the interweb can openly access a database that contains all your private information like email, passwords, birthdate, number, etc.

How Bad can it be when Password Appears in A Data Leak?

An adversary with malicious intent can assert complete control over your digital identity. They can skim your credit card details, cause data theft and loss, and completely take over your accounts rendering you powerless to retaliate.

data theft

Your digital identity will be lost from you and can be misused for ill practices. With enough intent, they can even set you up for crimes you have never committed. Their actions online can make you suffer in real life and it will, with all certainty, be a heavy price to pay for minor negligence.

Sounds terrifying right? It rightfully is. However, fret not for we have you covered. Should you ever have to face such adversity, the following steps will help you mitigate it swiftly. Moreover, we’ve also provided a few additional safety pointers that will help you in keeping your information safe and secure.

How to Protect Yourself from Password Data Leak

The first and most important step to take in this scenario is to calm down. Only with a calm mind can you find clarity. So, take a breath and proceed to follow these steps.

Find Out Where Your Password was leaked

If the Security Recommendations settings are enabled in your iPhone, it will alert you with a list of websites and services that fell victim to a data breach and where your passwords have been compromised, just like Google Password Manager or Lastpass.

It is important to note down these websites as there may be multiple accounts of yours that are currently compromised. So, you have to manually update all their passwords.

Alternatively, you can manually check all your accounts at haveibeenpwned website to verify their security and find all the data breaches that involved your account.

Change Your Passwords Right away

You should always change your password if it was in a data leak. Now that you’re aware of which websites or services were compromised, waste no time and head over to those sites.

Go to your account settings and set a fresh password that obeys all the recommended password metrics like length, characters, numbers, etc.

Furthermore, if you can, do set up 2-factor authentication on that account. This is the sole and the most effective countermeasure you can take to combat a data breach.

Turn On Two Factor Authentication on Your IPhone

Two-factor authentication is one of the most effective tools for adding an additional layer of security to your accounts and minimizing the danger of falling victim to online security breaches. It’s a straightforward solution with significant advantages.

Two Factor Authentication on iPhone

Turning on two-factor authentication for some critical apps and accounts or when using Apple Pay to make online transactions is a wise decision that will save you from regret.

How To Turn On 2 Factor Authentication on iPhone, iPad, and iPod

Here’s how to set up two-factor authentication on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch:

STEP 1: Head over to Settings > [Your User Name] > Password and Security

STEP 2: Tap on Turn on Two Factor Authentication

STEP 3: Tap on Continue and proceed to fill in the required credentials

STEP 4: Tap on Next to confirm your credentials

STEP 5: Enter the verification code to verify your registered phone number and successfully set up Two Factor Authentication

You might be asked for answers to your APPLE ID security questions as an additional verification process.

Best Practises for Maximum Password Security on iPhone

You cannot prevent a security breach. But, you can minimize and negate how much it affects you. How? By simply following a few of the expert suggested practices when setting up or maintaining an account.

Here are a few pointers for you to get started on securing your accounts:

  • Use minimum 12-character long passwords with varying alphanumerical inputs
  • Make sure each of your accounts has a unique and unidentical password
  • Enable 2-factor authentication whenever possible
  • Do not allow websites to get geolocation data
  • Set up a recovery email in case your primary email is compromised
  • Use secure and encrypted email like protonmail, Gmail, etc
  • Refrain from inputting your credentials into shady websites
  • Refrain from clicking on shady links from random Whatsapp forwards

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