Troy Hunt, who has been running HIBP solo for six years, launched “Project Svalbard” so the site can evolve with more resources, funding, and support.
Troy Hunt is seeking a buyer for Have I Been Pwned (HIBP), the online service he built to inform consumers and businesses of compromised data.
Hunt founded HIBP in 2013, around the time data breaches were ramping up, to help people learn when their usernames and passwords were compromised in a breach and how many times their credentials had been exposed. In the six years since, HIBP has grown to include nearly 8 billion breached records and about 3 million subscribers, Hunt said in a blog.
Commercial subscribers rely on HIBP to alert members of identity theft programs when their data is found in a breach, enable security companies to provide services to their customers, protect large online assets from credential-stuffing attacks, and prevent fraudulent purchases. Global governments use it to protect departments; law enforcement uses it in investigations.
As data breaches have grown in size, number, and complexity, Hunt continued to manage the site solo, updating HIBP with breached records and alerting victims. But things reached a turning point in January with the Collection #1 breach: Hunt, himself, discovered 87 GB worth of data in a folder containing 12,000-plus files, nearly 773 email addresses, and more than 21 million unique passwords from data breaches going back to 2008. He uploaded it all to HIBP; since then, the site has seen a massive influx in activity, taking him away from other responsibilities.
But Hunt also acknowledged the need for support was a long time coming. “Each and every disclosure to an organisation that didn’t even know their data was out there fell to me (and trust me, that’s massively time-consuming and has proven to be the single biggest bottleneck to loading new data),” he wrote. Further, he handled every media interview, support request, and task needed to run HIBP. Hunt was the single point of failure, which he said had to change.
The acquisition is dubbed Project Svalbard (named for the world’s largest seed bank, in Norway), and Hunt is working with KPMG to find a buyer. He plans to remain with HIBP following the acquisition and continue to build new capabilities into the platform.
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