Back in 2013, I was beginning to get the sense that data breaches were becoming a big thing. The prevalence of them seemed to be really ramping up as was the impact they were having on those of us that found ourselves in them, myself included. Increasingly, I was writing about what I thought was a pretty fascinating segment of the infosec industry; password reuse across Gawker and Twitter resulting in a breach of the former sending Acai berry spam via the latter. Sony Pictures passwords being, well, precisely the kind of terrible passwords we expect people to use but hey, actually seeing them for yourself is still shocking. And while I'm on Sony, the prevalence with which their users applied the same password to their Yahoo! accounts (59% of common email addresses had exactly the same password).
Around this time the Adobe data breach happened and that got me really interested in this segment of the industry, not least because I was in there. Twice. Most significantly though, it contained 153M other people which was a massive incident, even by today’s standards. All of these things combined – the prevalence of breaches, the analysis I was doing and the scale of Adobe – got me thinking: I wonder how many people know? Do they realise they were breached? Do they realise how many times they were breached? And perhaps most importantly, have they changed their password (yes, almost always singular) across the other services they use? And so Have I Been Pwned was born.
I’ll save the history lesson for the years between then and today because there are presently 106 blog posts with the HIBP tag you can go and read if you’re interested, let me just talk briefly about where the service is at today. It has almost 8B breached records, there are nearly 3M people subscribed to notifications, I’ve emailed those folks about a breach 7M times, there are 120k people monitoring domains they’ve done 230k searches for and I’ve emailed them another 1.1M times. There are 150k unique visitors to the site on a normal day, 10M on an abnormal day, another couple of million API hits to the breach API and then 10M a day to Pwned Passwords. Except even that number is getting smashed these days:
Pwned Passwords in @haveibeenpwned is going from strength to strength - 16M requests in the last 24 hous with a cache hit ratio of 99.4%