Enable search and notifications for email addresses using the "+" syntax
A lot of people use a syntax such as email@example.com where foo is a unique identifier for the site. They do this so that if they begin getting spammed, they can identify the source their email came from.
At the moment, HIBP treats this is a totally unique email address so if I've search for the parent email address without the "+" syntax, it won't be found. This idea is to ensure that searches and notifications recognise the syntax and return addresses that are logically still the same account.
One thing HIBP would also need to do is specify which account alias was in the breach or paste. For example, I would want to know that it was firstname.lastname@example.org that was exposed in the XYZ breach.
Edit: Just to put the value of this into context, I've just run some stats on the Adobe breach. Of the the 152,989,508 rows in the dump, only 49,905 email addresses have a "+" in the address so that's 0.03% of entries. That number is also a bit high as it includes junk entries. I'm definitely not ruling this idea out - it's still planned - I just wanted to give a sense of how useful it would be.
Edit: To add to this idea, Robert's comment about a period in the email is also very valid. I'd want to be very clear about the ubiquity of this practice across mail providers, but it's certainly a good suggestion and worth further investigation.
status on this?
Claudio Brandt commented
(I understand there were similar suggestions, to which the response was to look at https://haveibeenpwned.uservoice.com/forums/275398-general/suggestions/6774229-enable-search-and-notifications-for-email-addresse, which concerns email aliases with '+'. But while aliases are necessarily known to the user who created them, variations with dot can be arbitrarily created by hackers and will be accepted both for email AND login by Gmail)
So the problem is:
Gmail is an ubiquitous email provider.
Gmail accepts dots anywhere in the username.
Gmail ignores dots, so that:
user123 is the same as:
A hacker intent on evading HaveIBeenPwnd monitoring could easily add dots to all Gmail addresses before selling and/or leaking a list of email and passwords. This way, after a major leak is advertised, user123@gmail visiting HIBP may leave with a false sense of security that their password wasn't in the leak because currently HIBP will only return a match for the exact address(es) input by the user.
But if the hacker added a dot somewhere in the address, the combination username+password would still be available to access the account, while the legit user would not have a clue that their password was compromised.
The solution: for each Gmail address, remove the dots before adding to HIBP's database, so that:
1) user123, user.123, u.ser123 etc will be stored as user123 within HIBP's database;
2) when an user visits HIBP and inputs their Gmail address, any variation caused by dots will be stripped of dots before matching against HIBP's database, resulting in a positive even if a dot variant username was leaked.
A more general syntax would be very helpful. I've been using spamgourmet.com for many years, and many of the addresses are valid for a long time period.
Myself and many of my colleagues ONLY use this aliasing, especially since Microsoft added support for it in Office 365 (G Suite has had it for a while). Please please make this a feature!
PS: we would not expect Adobe users to make use of aliases hahaha.
The tides might be changing https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/exchange/recipients-in-exchange-online/plus-addressing-in-exchange-online and in the spirit of catching leaks (however obfuscated), not supporting https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Email_address#Subaddressing seems a bit unconstructive in supporting adoption.
Does / did Adobe allow subaddressing? (in all of its registration forms? typical hindrance)
Joe Weeds commented
plz plz plz do this... i use the + syntax to keep my logins unique and easily rememberable - which I think we can all agree is what we want most users doing as part of good digital hygiene. here you will be rewarding those taking the appropriate steps so that breaches do not spread further.
Joe Weeds commented
including a simple wildcard search where email@example.com would be really useful. even if you didn't enumerate every variant of firstname.lastname@example.org in the results but were at least able to link them in the search query. alternatively linking the email addresses (call them the parents) to the children (+something variants) would be fairly fast given that they represent 0.03% of the records and this can be done after the fact as a small post processing routine.
fully agreed, please do it!
and the stats for + sign can be like that because probably tons of people are not aware that it is possible - but most likely they are also not aware of HIBP, password managers and other stuff, and Adobe is quite popular among people with lower IT and security awareness.
I recently changed my email provider and had to change my email for all my accounts. Now I use the "+" syntax on all my accounts and would like to still receive alerts for breaches that affect me.
Manually submitting the ~30 variations of my email address + any I make in the future to hibp would be quite inefficient.
(please do it)
These usecases would be very important to me. Both the plus alias and also the dot.
As a user who wants to keep track of sites breaches or when a company has given my details to other companies without my permission I currently use the + alias: example: email@example.com
Therefore I would like for HIBP to search for all aliases variations of my email address.
so that I can find in a more precise and efficient manner all the sites where my details have been compromised.
Many thanks for keeping this in your backlog.
This feature is very important!
Jeffrey Miller commented
This would be nice to have as an option.
This addition would be really appreciated. I prefer that all Internet services comply to RFC's: in particular RFC2822.
Mike Chu commented
I use a plus added to my user portion of my email address eg FirstLast+SomeUntrustedService@mailfence.com. This helps me identify email list sharing or breaches.
As a HIBP visitor, I would like the ability to search my email address and automatically include records that might have the plus symbol and trailing alpha numerics so I can see any pwnage.
Thanks for considering
Why does the the sign in and sign up boxes in google account page suggest that users including myself without a choice other than to incorporate these *_ + , wasn't an option for me ? asking everyone from Verizon ,Sprint Boost,to family members, then reaching out to Google for direction? and Nada ...what then ? I've lost my mind,completely! Or Ignorant to technology and to the internet one of the two, "ignorant " cause I'm just ain't that detached .A lack of knowledge as said for betterterminolog.I knew my account was compromised and did what I was told. Change password and email. Or both in my case. Every person either in person,by phone ,or browsing help search and trying to explain in the describe issues box I'm not that ignorant to it anymore I kept asking. Kept reading and browsing and learning. is actually leading me to be safer online gain more wisdom and engage in more productive,and practice more meaningful usage on line join in with social media societies and help where I can l'm Just trying to get answers to my online hurts ,habits and hang ups .learning comes with mistakes . Especialy when you got to help your self. In the matter Peace be to you .
Bruce Korb commented
An excellent idea!!
It would be a really good addition. I've been using this feature for a while now, but it becomes unmanageable to check each alias.