LinkedIn Explains Data Scraping Amid Reports of More Data Hacks and Breaches

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A new article on Social Media Today reports that over the past few months, there have been various reports of significant LinkedIn data hacks, with huge databases of user info being sold on the dark web, available to the highest bidder.

In April, Cyber News reported that personal data scraped from 500 million LinkedIn users was being made available for sale on various hacking forums, while just last month, another set, reportedly incorporating info from 700 million LinkedIn profiles, also became available online. LinkedIn has denied that these indicate a breach of its security, instead pointing to 'data scraping' as the culprit.

"Our teams have investigated a set of alleged LinkedIn data that has been posted for sale. We want to be clear that this is not a data breach, and no private LinkedIn member data was exposed. Our initial investigation has found that this data was scraped from LinkedIn and other various websites and includes the same data reported earlier this year in our April 2021 scraping update."
Today, as part of its effort to provide more context on what's actually occurred and what it's doing about it, LinkedIn has posted an overview of how data scraping works and what users can do to protect their LinkedIn profiles in the future better.

"Scraping has been around since the start of the internet, but it's grown dramatically in scale and sophistication. Today, the scraping we hear most about is unauthorized scraping, which uses code and automated collection methods to make (up to) thousands of queries per second and evade technical blocks, in order to take data without permission. Scraped data can be gathered from multiple sites, combined, and sold in large batches, to be used for phishing and other campaigns designed to trick you into sharing private information."
LinkedIn currently displays your name and job title for all searchers, unless you've made your profile private. That data is then accessible by search engines, which can help to boost discovery - so LinkedIn could further limit that, but if you ever want to be found for relevant searches, on and off the platform, which is a key value proposition of the app, it needs to keep a level of that info accessible by users and search tools.

"Spend some time looking at what info you've added, from contact details to work history, and get familiar with your settings. In addition, take a look at your public profile page to understand what information might be public and ensure it's exactly what you want to be viewable to search engines and other off-LinkedIn services. You can choose to limit or adjust choices if you'd like."
It might be worth reviewing your LinkedIn profile!
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