(Sulastri Sulastri/Shuttertock)

Data From 500 Million LinkedIn Accounts Hacked and Put Up for Sale on the Dark Web

In a blow to businesspeople of all levels and industries, the career and business networking site LinkedIn confirmed that data “scraped” from approximately 500 million profiles has been archived by hackers and is being sold on the dark web. The site has approximately 675 million members, meaning that data from 74% of its entire network has been compromised.

According to Clare Duffy of CNN Business, “the sale of the data was first reported by cybersecurity news and research site CyberNews, which said that an archive including user IDs, names, email addresses, phone numbers, genders, professional titles and links to other social media profiles was being auctioned off on the forum for a four-figure sum.”

In its defense, LinkedIn has maintained that the database of accounts offered up for sale on the dark web “is actually an aggregation of data from a number of websites and companies” — information that members publicly listed on their profiles.

“This is not a LinkedIn data breach, and no private member account data from LinkedIn was included in what we’ve been able to review,” the company reported.

While this kind of data is less sensitive than financial records like credit card numbers, banking account details or social security numbers, experts say that it still presents a safety risk for individuals and could be used to help infiltrate email accounts and other higher-risk areas of a person’s digital footprint. Personal phone numbers, for example, can easily be exploited for robocalls and other common telemarketing scams.

“Social media companies have tools in place aimed at preventing scrapers — LinkedIn on its terms page details ‘technical measures and defenses’ against such abuse — but they don’t always work,” Duffy reported. “The company said that ‘any misuse of our members’ data, such as scraping’ violates its terms of service, which prohibit third-party software, bots, browser extensions or plug-ins that scrape data from the site.”

“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,” LinkedIn warned in its statement.

“The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment about whether it will alert users whose data was scraped and is included in the database for sale,” Duffy reported.

News of the LinkedIn hack comes just days after a different social media scandal broke. On April 5, Facebook revealed that it had suffered a similar attack, with personal data — including phone numbers, birthdays, email addresses and more — from 500 million users being scraped from public profiles and offered up for sale on the web.

Authorities haven’t confirmed whether the attacks are related. Both are currently under investigation by a number of different federal agencies.


Related: For more recent diversity and inclusion news, click here.


Latest News

Sanofi on Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2021

Originally published on LinkedIn. Sanofi U.S. ranked No. 27 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Metastatic breast cancer (MBC) is the most advanced form of breast cancer that’s progressed to other organs. Some cases are estrogen-receptor-positive (ER+). Learn…

Novartis Pharmaceuticals’ Statement on COVID-19 Vaccinations and Enabling Its Associates To Work On-Site Safely

Originally published at Novartis Pharmaceuticals is a DiversityInc Hall of Fame company.   As a leading healthcare company, Novartis is playing an important part by supporting vaccination to help overcome the pandemic. The safety of all associates, our customers, business partners and the communities where we run our operations…

KPMG on the Net-Zero Readiness of the United States

Originally published at KPMG ranked No. 16 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   From board rooms to the halls of country capitals, leaders across the public and private sectors are increasingly deploying strategies to address climate change and drive towards a future net-zero…