After 500 million LinkedIn enthusiasts were affected in a data-scraping incident in April, it’s happened again – with big security ramifications.
A new posting with 700 million LinkedIn records has appeared on a popular hacker forum, according to researchers.
Analysts from Privacy Sharks stumbled across the data put up for sale on RaidForums by a hacker calling himself “GOD User TomLiner.” The advertisement, posted June 22, claims that 700 million records are included in the cache, and included a sample of 1 million records as “proof.”
Privacy Sharks examined the free sample and saw that the records include full names, gender, email addresses, phone numbers and industry information. It’s unclear what the origin of the data is – but the scraping of public profiles is a likely source. That was the engine behind the collection of 500 million LinkedIn records that went up for sale in April. It contained an “aggregation of data from a number of websites and companies” as well “publicly viewable member profile data,” LinkedIn said at the time.
According to LinkedIn, no breach of its networks has occurred this time, either:
“While we’re still investigating this issue, our initial analysis indicates that the dataset includes information scraped from LinkedIn as well as information obtained from other sources,” according to the company’s press statement. “This was not a LinkedIn data breach and our investigation has determined that no private LinkedIn member data was exposed. Scraping data from LinkedIn is a violation of our Terms of Service and we are constantly working to ensure our members’ privacy is protected.”
Security Ramifications of Data-Scraping
The good news is that credit-card data, private message contents and other sensitive information is not a part of the incident, from Privacy Shark’s analysis. That’s not to say there aren’t serious security implications though.
“The leaked information poses a threat to affected LinkedIn users,” according to Privacy Sharks. “With details such as email addresses and phone numbers made available to buyers online, LinkedIn individuals could become the target of spam campaigns, or worse still, victims of identity theft.”