LinkedIn, the social network used by career-orientated professionals, has suffered an enormous setback as allegations regarding hacked passwords came to light this past week. The humiliating blow comes after reports regarding its iOS app’s privacy issues.
It has now been confirmed that 6.46 million encrypted LinkedIn passwords were leaked online by a Russian hacker who posted the hashed passwords on a forum. According to tech news site Mashable, it has been revealed that the same hacker also stole 1.5 million passwords from dating site eHarmony, with some experts suspecting that number my actually be much bigger.
LinkedIn has since disabled the passwords and are currently investigating the matter. In the mean time they have urged all users to review their security settings and to change their passwords.
On Wednesday the company issued an apology and promised to add another layer of security by salting as well as hashing its database for account passwords – a process that will hopefully make encrypted passwords harder to crack.
Public outcry and the importance of privacy
The days following the news of LinkedIn’s security breach saw the company being attacked for the insensitive way in which it supposedly deals with the personal information of its users. Despite the fact that LinkedIn was merely the victim of a cunning hacker, disgruntled users and the public in general did not hesitate to shift the blame to the social network’s security systems. The message was clear – even in the digital age people, consumers and users expect companies to respect their privacy.
As a company that deals with a database of hundreds of thousands of subscribers, Digital Fire fully understands the sensitivity with which such data must be treated. Data is precious, and it should always be gained from people who willingly subscribe to whatever service or information your company is offering.
No data should be ever be bought or stolen – as this flies directly in the face of rules and regulations set out by the consumer protection act and online decency in general.
In a world where data and information rules – security and privacy aught to be at the forefront of every company’s concerns.
Social Networks and security breaches
Yet, in today’s super-connected world it is almost inevitable that security to one of a user’s multiple accounts on social networks, email clients, ecommerce sites etc will be compromised. Of course companies have a responsibility to continually work towards upgrading their security to such an extent that this should be avoided at all costs – but users too must guard their passwords and security settings with maximum care and follow guidelines such as using complex pass codes rather than common ones which are easy to hack.
It is not yet known how this debacle will affect LinkedIn in the coming months, but it is likely that it will have a very negative effect on the way the social network is perceived and perhaps even their share prices.