If in the last couple of days subscribers have unable to access their LinkedIn accounts. That was because the website was hacked and login details of about 117 million subscribers stolen. The difficulty in logging in was as a result of LinkedIn trying to be proactive about the problem by making it difficult for anybody to login.
Apparently, the hackers have being selling the details on online black market sites. This is coming at a time when one of the biggest hackers site, Nulled, was shut down because, ironically, it was also the victim of a successful hacking attack. The Nulled hack succeeded in releasing the entire data base of the website to the public. Almost half a million hackers and other Internet low-lifes were exposed in the process. So one is completely sure that the LinkedIn details wouldn’t be available on Nulled. To get the passwords, a black market Internet site known as ‘The Real Deal’ is the place to head to.
LinkedIn, which is the world’s largest social forum for professionals, acknowledged the problem on their blog. It was Cory Scott, LinkedIn’s chief information security officer, that had the thankless job of informing subscribers of the bad news. He wrote:
Yesterday, we became aware of an additional set of data that had just been released that claims to be email and hashed password combinations of more than 100 million LinkedIn members from that same theft in 2012. We are taking immediate steps to invalidate the passwords of the accounts impacted, and we will contact those members to reset their passwords. We have no indication that this is as a result of a new security breach
Why LinkedIn Accounts Hacking Matter
One might be tempted not to see the hacking of LinkedIn accounts as a big deal. After all, no serious financial information can be had from hacking into subscribers LinkedIn accounts. Here is why it is a messy situation. Most people tend to use the same password for their various online accounts (I am guilty of that too, by the way), so it is highly likely that knowing a person’s LinkedIn account password can also be the same password for their email address where sensitive information can be mined.
History Of LinkedIn Accounts Hacking
This is not the first time LinkedIn accounts have being hacked. Four years ago, in June 2012, hackers from Russia released the passwords to over 6 million LinkedIn accounts. One would have thought a responsible organization like LinkedIn would have by now secured users’ details by enhancing security. Now, after the horse had bolted, LinkedIn say they are doing all they can to stop the stolen LinkedIn accounts details sold on the black market. Good luck to them.
Meanwhile the company is also making sure nobody can use the passwords to gain access to customers accounts. This only affects those subscribers who are yet to update their accounts since the incident. As for the rest, LinkedIn intends to reach out to them on how to update their LinkedIn accounts.
Like any big firm embarrassed by events like this, LinkedIn is trying to mitigate the extent of the harm done to its image. In a neat corporate spin, the blog post further said,
We take the safety and security of our members’ accounts seriously. For several years, we have hashed and salted every password in our database, and we have offered protection tools such as email challenges and dual factor authentication. We encourage our members to visit our safety center to learn about enabling two-step verification, and to use strong passwords in order to keep their accounts as safe as possible.
I guess that is helpful. But like we said earlier, the horse had already bolted. The best they can do now is look to the future. Just make sure it is not easy to hack LinkedIn accounts again.
photo credit: computerandyou.net; forbes.com