LinkedIn, the professional networking website, denied reports this week of a data breach that allegedly exposed more than 700 million users’ personal data.
News site Privacy Sharks saw a posting about the sale on RaidForums, a hacker site. ‘GOD User’ TomLiner published the post, which claimed they had 700 million records – and included a sample of one million records as proof. The hacker who posted the data asked for a minimum ‘four-digit sum for access.
After examining the sample, researchers at Privacy Sharks found they contained personal details, including full names, gender, phone numbers, email addresses and industry information.
As usual, whenever there is a potential breach/hack or abuse of user data from a major business or social media platform, the media always launches into a frenzy of doom and gloom, and the end of the world is nigh.
The recent reporting of a suspected breach of LinkedIn security that offers as fact that 700 million users data (more than 92 per cent of its userbase) has been exposed to the anonymous ne’r-do-wells is guaranteed to create a multitude of online posts along the lines of “Chicken Little the sky is falling” panic.
The more reflective reporter will revert to LinkedIn – and yes, they have an interest in denying any malfeasance for their extensive user base of around 800 million.
Are they really reporting that nearly all user data has been breached? Worldwide? Everyone?
LinkedIn was quick to respond with a statement confirming it was not a data breach as all the data was publicly available and that it was aggregated data ‘from several websites and companies’ and ‘publicly viewable member profile data’.
Our teams have investigated a set of alleged LinkedIn data that has been posted for sale. We want to be clear that this is not a data breach, and no private LinkedIn member data was exposed. Our initial investigation has found that this data was scraped from LinkedIn and other various websites and includes the same data reported earlier this year in our April 2021 scraping update.
Members trust LinkedIn with their data, and any misuse of our members’ data, such as scraping, violates LinkedIn terms of service. When anyone tries to take member data and use it for purposes LinkedIn and our members haven’t agreed to, we work to stop them and hold them accountable.
For additional information about our policies and how we protect member data from misuse: https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/answer/56347/prohibited-software-and-extensions
They are really saying that the number of businesses who try to access LinkedIn data and sell “lead generation” solutions to unsuspecting business users are actually in breach of LinkedIn terms and conditions of use. They are taking steps to prevent such actions.
In truth, these companies have multiplied over recent years, all offering the golden ticket to qualified leads for your target market.
The data breach reality?
Most golden tickets are only for the business owners benefiting from the money you waste on these short-cut systems. LinkedIn was always going to attack the scrapers, the recruitment agencies, the false lead generation companies and those who believe they can game the system.
Their day has probably come and gone.
What can you do?
First, change your password. You should do this regularly anyway and check access to your account.
On your own profile:
- Go to your image in the top bar
- Scroll down to Settings & Privacy
- Scroll down to Data Privacy
- Scroll down to Other Applications
- Check Permitted Services
- If you see any you are not sure of – click remove
Next, don’t panic.
Every platform has the ‘businesses’ that offer the magic bullet. Golden ticket. Easy route to leads and riches. LinkedIn is no different.
Simple security practices, adherence to the business terms and conditions and using tried and tested LinkedIn lead generation processes will deliver the results most users require.
InsideHS can help. Check out Red Live Media in the Supplier Network for LinkedIn training. Lead about LinkedIn Lead generation processes that you can action without spending hard-earned profits with the magic potion charlatans and simple, straightforward advice on how to maximise your LinkedIn performance.
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