LinkedIn data leak compromises 500 million user accounts

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Users’ names, phone numbers, email addresses, and more were scraped by hackers

It seems like only yesterday that 533 million Facebook accounts were compromised by malicious actors. But the hacking world never sleeps, and personal information from hundreds of millions of LinkedIn accounts is now reportedly being offered on an online forum.

Cyber News reports that an archive of 500 million LinkedIn profiles was posted to a hacking forum, with the cyber thieves disclosing details of 2 million accounts to prove they have the goods. The leaked details were supposedly scraped from the site and include users’ full names, email addresses, phone numbers, workplace information, and other data.

For its part, LinkedIn says this incident was not technically a “LinkedIn data breach” because the information was “actually an aggregation of data from a number of websites and companies.” This likely means that the data collected by the hacker was information that was already viewable on the site. LinkedIn says it believes no private member account information was included.

How does this affect consumers?

There are a few different ways the information in this breach could be used for nefarious purposes. First, and perhaps most directly, any entity that buys the data from the hacking source could send spam messages to the email addresses and spam calls to phone numbers. 

While this might be annoying enough on its own, the collected data could also be used for phishing attacks. These scam attempts would be especially dangerous because consumers’ personal information could be used to make them more believable. Cyber News notes that hackers could also combine the information they collected from this leak with information from other data breaches to compromise accounts. 

Consumers should consider implementing several standard cybersecurity practices to protect themselves and their online accounts. This includes resetting email and account passwords, reviewing what information they’re making available on social media and other websites, and enabling two-factor authentication on all online accounts. 

You can learn more about how to protect your online information by reading ConsumerAffairs’ guide on how to prevent identity theft.

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