LinkedIn is the latest victim of mass data breaches and the data of over 500 million users have been deleted from the platform and published online for sale. The dataset includes sensitive information such as email addresses, phone numbers, workplace information, full names, account identifiers, links to their social media accounts, and gender details. The breached data was reportedly being sold by an unknown user on a hacking forum who dumped data from more than two million users as evidence. The hacker wants a four-figure sum (in US dollars) in exchange for the broken data, potentially in the form of bitcoins. This comes just days after such a massive deletion of data from more than 500 million Facebook users.
LinkedIn has over 740 million users, the company mentions this on its own website, which means that the data of more than two thirds of its subscribers are compromised and sold online. The news was first reports from CyberNews and LinkedIn later confirm the violation to Business Insider.
In an official statement, a spokesman for LinkedIn told the publication, “While we are still investigating this issue, the published dataset includes publicly visible information that has been deleted from LinkedIn, combined with data collected from other websites or companies. Deleting the data of our members from LinkedIn violates our terms of service and we are constantly working to protect our members and their data. The data includes sensitive information such as phone number, email ID, workplace information and even links to their social media accounts.
Security analyst Paul Prudome told Insider that the data set, if exposed to bad participants, could lead to an attack on many companies through their employees. He said these attacks were more likely to succeed due to the increase in remote work and the use of personal devices for office work.
A few days earlier personal data of 533 million Facebook users was expired recently on a hacker forum. The large data set includes users from 106 countries, including 32 million user records in the United States and 6 million users in India. Their email addresses, phone numbers, Facebook IDs, locations, dates of birth and biographies were reportedly exposed. A Facebook spokesman said the data set had been compromised due to a vulnerability fixed two years ago.
How can I prevent data leakage?
As a user, you are dependent on the security and safety provided by the services you use. It’s important to review the security, protection, and privacy settings of the apps you’re using and make sure they’re set up correctly.
Also, share only the information you need with digital services and subscribe to sites such as Was I detained? for notifications if your email address is part of a data breach.
In addition to being careful while sharing any personal information online, often change your account passwords on different platforms. This will not help you in a situation like leaks from Facebook and LinkedIn, but overall it is good advice.
Ideally, the password should be strong and you can keep it in a strong password manager for auto-completion. Also enable 2-factor authentication (2FA) when available, and do not accept links, especially on LinkedIn and Facebook, from strangers.
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