PowerKee’s Bastion of Privacy #43–700 million LinkedIn users exposed after latest exploit
Over 700 million LinkedIn users’ data has been exposed, after months of storage by hackers. The exposed data was scraped from the social platform in June this year, with an attempted sale shortly afterwards. The 187 GB of data is finally being shared as a torrent in private Telegram channels.
As a network of professionals, the quality of personal information exposed in this incident could have weighty consequences for the victims. In the latest Bastion of Privacy, we examine the details of this incident and how this could affect internet users in the areas of data privacy and cybersecurity.
June hack impacts 700 million LinkedIn users
LinkedIn is the world’s largest online professional networks. It is a platform where professionals connect for jobs, internships, and businesses. Hence, unlike most other social platforms where users can often register using aliases or alternative identities, the majority of LinkedIn users connect using their real identities. Launched in 2003, LinkedIn currently has over 774 million users across 200 countries. The latest exploit impacted the majority of this user base.
In June this year, hackers advertised the stolen data of over 700 million users. This number accounts for over 92% of the total users of the platform. LinkedIn initially denied that the advertised stolen data was recent, between 2020 and 2021. However, after investigations, the company clarified that the stolen data did not include critical information of users. According to LinkedIn, the incident was a case of data scraping, and not an actual breach or hack. The personal information stolen from LinkedIn users then included; full names, phone numbers, physical addresses, email addresses, geolocation records, LinkedIn usernames and profile URLs, personal and professional experiences and backgrounds, genders. other social media accounts and usernames.
Before the June incident, LinkedIn suffered a similar case of data scraping in April 2021 which affected 500 million users. The same was the case with Facebook during the same period. While LinkedIn insists that the scraped data consists of non-critical information, users are worried that this data can still be used by scammers for fraudulent activities. Matching the information collected can enable impersonation at different levels, enabling more serious consequences for users.
Rising concerns over users’ data
The ease at which data thieves can access information from these leading social platforms is a major concern for internet users. Even more concerning is the attitude of the companies, who appear to be more interested in exonerating themselves from the incident, instead of seeking better ways of securing users’ data. An alternative data security model has become necessary, especially with the increasing rate of virtual activities across major industries.
Blockchain-based solutions like PowerKee that are privacy-focused offer a robust and fully secure environment for users. Such platforms enable users to anonymously transfer and store financial value across a decentralized network.
PowerKee is a cryptocurrency network that makes privacy easy. Users can transact cheaply and instantly while maintaining anonymity. The PowerKee protocol uses a mixture of zero-knowledge proofs and coin mixing to provide strong privacy to its users.