A new HackNotice extension for Google Chrome notifies users when websites they access have been recently compromised.
Nobody wants to enter their data on a hacked site but unless they stay current on security news, most people don’t know which portals are safe and which are potentially harmful. If they know an organization has been breached, most people choose to take their business elsewhere: a new survey shows half avoid services after a security incident is reported.
HackNotice aims to arm people with more data to make choices about the businesses they use. It was founded by Steve Thomas, former cofounder of credential monitoring service PwnedList and most recently, leader of a third-party risk monitoring team at Security Scorecard. The startup launched in July 2018 to make threat intelligence more accessible to the average user.
Many of the organizations providing breach intelligence cater to businesses, Thomas explains. PwnedList, SecurityScorecard, Shodan, and Metasploit are all examples of innovation intended to protect the enterprise from cyberattacks. Most people don’t have access to the same insight.
“A lot of consumers were left in the duct or didn’t have any services geared toward them,” he says. “I wanted to focus on helping consumers make use of threat intelligence businesses have had access to for a long time. It’s really about awareness.”
HackNotice users can learn whether their data has been compromised in a breach and access practical advice: how and whether they should reset their password, check their credit card statement, and/or report a stolen card.
Now they can learn whether a website has been recently compromised before they submit any personal information: starting today, HackNotice is rolling out a free Chrome extension designed to alert users when they access a recently hacked site. It’s available for public use.
To keep its users updated on recent cyberattacks, HackNotice leverages a database containing 20,000 hack notices and hack reports, Thomas explains. This database powers the Chrome extension, which sits in the background while you browse. If you visit a site that has been hacked within the previous 90 days, the tool will send a notification to let you know.
“If I’m about to buy something from a site and put credit card information in there, I want to know about a recent hack,” Thomas says.
HackNotice’s breach database is updated daily with newly discovered incidents. Data is pulled from several sources: state government disclosure sites, privacy rights website, news media. Hacks are reviewed and verified manually before they’re added to the database, which contains both new cyberattacks and new information on earlier attacks, he adds.
It’s worth noting that 90 days is the extension’s default timeframe for alerting users to recent hacks. You can adjust the tool to display notifications on a site regardless of when it was hacked, an option Thomas points out was not the default as he didn’t want to overwhelm users.
“Unfortunately, a lot of sites have had at least one hack in the last 10 years,” he says. If they prefer, users may also create a “watchlist” to keep them updated on frequently visited sites.
“We are starting with Chrome, but we are absolutely open to other browsers,” says Thomas of plans for the future. “We’ve already planned out how to release the extension for Firefox, so assuming there is a demand that would be our next browser.”
He’s also brainstorming ways to bring HackNotice’s info into users’ daily lives. The focus is less on getting people to visit the site, and more about integrating hack data into their activity. For example, one idea is to create a stock ticker that shows recent breaches along with stock data.
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Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial … View Full Bio