Linked In and the Security Breach

A few days ago it was announced that hackers have cracked the linked in database, and obtained what amounts to potentially millions of user passwords. If you do not have a linked in account, nor know what LinkedIn is, then this urgent message will not apply to you.

For those of us who do have a LinkedIn account, it is imperative that you change your password to that account and, as many people use the same password across many different accounts, including banking accounts, login accounts to other services, and especially email, I urge you to change your passwords on all of those.

Should you be contacted by email to supply additional private or confidential information, based on information that may be culled from your linked in account, please disregard it. You never want to provide confidential information, login information, or passwords to any company or individual who requested it via email or text. Banks will never ask you for such information. Instead, they will direct you to a secure way of resetting your password to something new. Those security questions you answered or created when the account was first created come in handy when it’s time to reset.

If you have an account with LinkedIn, and that account uses a password that you have used anywhere else, you need to change the password on LinkedIn and the same password on any other service or login you use.

If your LinkedIn account password was unique, and you didn’t use that password on any other service, then you only need to change the password on your linked in account. Generally, you want to create a password that combines a word or a phrase with numbers. Do not use pet names, family names, children’s names, birthdays, anniversaries, or addresses. If you are using the word “password” as your password anyway, you deserve to be hacked.

According to news reports, the list of passwords obtained from LinkedIn was also posted on a Russian website. LinkedIn is a wonderful and often necessary resource for many of us. It happens to be our favorite method of sharing documents online, and replaced our idisk long ago. This message is not meant to scare you from using your LinkedIn account. However, we do want to be cautious here. Tread carefully as you continue to use your LinkedIn account, and be careful with your passwords.