LinkedIn data breach leaks personal details of 500 million users

Earlier this month, the social media world was shaken by a massive Facebook data leak where hundreds of millions of users’ data was compromised. The event left Facebook users across the globe vulnerable to cyberattacks and diminished the already dwindling trust of people in social networking platforms. Now, a LinkedIn data breach is doing the same for users of the business and employment-oriented online service.

According to reports, an archive containing information from 500 million LinkedIn profiles was put on sale on a prominent hacker forum, and many users took notice of it. Another 2 million profiles were leaked to the group as well to prove the legitimacy of the sale and to provide a teaser of sorts. The LinkedIn data breach sent companies and brands scrambling to check if their data had been compromised and if any sensitive information was revealed to the public.

The post author uploaded four files containing information on LinkedIn users. These files have users’ full names, phone numbers, workplace data, and email addresses, among other pieces of information. Users on the hacker forum can check out the leaked samples for a small fee of $2, but the post author is auctioning off the 500 million user database for at least 4 digits worth of bitcoin. (Read: Cybersec firms catch Telegram bot selling Facebook phone numbers)

LinkedIn has already confirmed reports of the leak, but it says that what happened was not a data breach. Rather, the hackers simply gathered information from other companies and websites. As per LinkedIn, it has already “investigated an alleged set of LinkedIn data that has been posted for sale and have determined that it is actually an aggregation of data from a number of websites and companies.”

It has not yet been verified whether the leaked information is current and updated, or if it’s scrap data, which means that it was obtained from previous hacks or leaks.

However, according to ESET Chief Security Evangelist Tony Anscombe, data that is obtained from cyber hacks does not go down in value and is likely to still be useful to malicious actors for all sorts of cyberattacks. They could use this information to launch social engineering attacks, phishing campaigns, or even identity theft attacks.

LinkedIn users should be wary of any suspicious activity on their accounts and double down on their personal security measures to prevent falling prey to cyberattacks. It would do well for users not to click on suspicious attachments or links that could collect their data without their knowledge. It would also be prudent for users to change their LinkedIn passwords and enable multi-factor authentication for extra security in case they were a part of the LinkedIn leak.

Facebook’s data leak had already left people shaken, and it left 533 million individuals exposed to cyberattacks. In response to the attack, Facebook had released a blog post admitting that the data breach did happen, but it claims that the hack happened back in 2019. Still, users should be vigilant about their online activity to protect themselves from cybercriminals.

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Misha Fabian

Athlete | Performer | Writer

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