Recently, a large amount of data from Facebook has been leaked, which is related to 533 million users, Including 2.6 million Poles. Now, on the popular LinkedIn portal, among other things, an incident of a similar scale has occurred while looking for a job. The 500 million accounts currently available for sale have been leaked.
This is an opportunity to think about what data we share publicly and the data that people who don’t need can use it to process.
To make this fact credible, the individuals who obtained the data and tried to sell it shared the data of 2 million people. He asked for their minimum four digits. The online news portal reported the entire incident. The incident has been investigated by LinkedIn (owned by Microsoft), and preliminary analysis shows that the data also includes information from other websites. However, LinkedIn does not deny that there are loopholes.
The data is so-called intercepted and crawled, that is, the information is scanned on a large scale and then imported into a spreadsheet (such as Excel or Google Sheets). Among other things, there are email addresses, phone numbers, links to other social files or information about employment.
There are at least two conclusions-one is optimistic and the other is not so optimistic. Fortunately, the leaked data does not contain any information classified by users. All public content is public data, and everyone in the profile can see it. This is good news. The bad news is that such a data set from 500 million accounts (even if there is actually very little data from LinkedIn) may be good news, and the perpetrators of the leak can collect considerable funds for this. The consequences of such sales don’t stop there.
A single account does not calculate too much on its own, but if you create some larger data sets, they will be very valuable.
Buyers of this type of information can use it for various purposes. In this way, they can obtain information about the recipient’s habits and provide them with personal profile advertisements and products. Many industries can benefit from this, so their prices may be very high. As Experian reported in 2012, the value of a single email address for a given brand can be as high as $89.
Such data can also be used for political purposes, and the Cambridge Analytica scandal is such a scandal.
The company used information about 87 million users to accurately convey election information during the U.S. presidential election and the 2016 Brexit referendum.
Other undesirable effects of such a large data leak include: tracking, hacking and attempts to take over accounts or ransomware (so-called ransomware attacks). It may also happen that various clusters of information about individual users will be used in so-called phishing attacks, that is, sending messages that impersonate someone in a group of friends to further steal data (or identity) and even cash.
It’s worth emphasizing at this point that it’s always worth making sure to visit every important portal and website, the so-called Two-factor authentication (Sometimes called a two-step operation).
One of the most common forms is a special verification application (e.g. Google Authenticator or Microsoft Authenticator). When we log in to the website, it will also ask us to enter a unique code that is generated every 30 seconds. This code is only assigned to devices that we have such applications (such as smartphones). Without forcibly taking the mobile phone from our hands, no one will do it for us.
Fortunately for leak victims, all shared information is happily disclosed by LinkedIn users.
The LinkedIn case is difficult to assess whether users are not sharing too much of this data. It is entirely because of the purpose of the website-namely to establish a professional contact network and act as a recruitment contact.
Perhaps this is why the portal has become an annoyance for those responsible for “leaks.” Most people there want to be as visible as possible so that recruiters can contact them or be discovered by others in the industry. Restricting the visibility of information can sometimes have a negative impact.