Professional social network giant LinkedIn has acknowledged that it is looking into a massive data breach. As a result of the breach as many as 6.5 million user accounts may have been compromised. Account data including login information and passwords have been leaked and posted to a Russian hacker site. Although LinkedIn hasn’t confirmed the breach or detailed which accounts might have been impacted, the fact that the company is acknowledging the potential threat and investigating it is a big cause for concern.
At this time, it’s better to err on the side of caution.
If you use LinkedIn, you should consider that your account data has been compromised and change your password immediately.
A breach of this type and magnitude would be a big deal for any social networking site or web-based service. The fact that LinkedIn has become a crucial business tool for professionals in every industry and that it is relied by job hunters, recruiters, and hiring managers means that the potential fallout from such a breach could be extremely damaging to the reputation and career prospects of every user whose account was compromised.
The potential damage to a person’s livelihood actually puts this breach close to, if not on par with, identity theft. In fact, it could easily lead to identity hijacking if not outright identity theft.
With enormous scope of this breach, it’s also probably a good idea to change your passwords to other social networks and online services. You may also want to consider unlinking other services that from your LinkedIn profile for time being to limit the possibility of malicious user to access spreading to personal information beyond LinkedIn.
News of the breach comes just one day after the NY Times exposed the lack of security built into LinkedIn’s new iPhone and iPad app. The new app created a buzz of appreciation when the company unveiled last month. It now appears that LinkedIn might have been better off spending a bit more time and money on data security in the new app rather than on developing its compelling user interface and experience.