Did LinkedIn have a data breach and how many users are affected?

Career portfolio and networking site LinkedIn is in the spotlight again following reports of a large-scale data breach on its platform.

Did LinkedIn have a data breach and how many users are affected? (Pic: Getty)
Did LinkedIn have a data breach and how many users are affected? (Pic: Getty)

LinkedIn the site describing itself as ‘the world's largest professional network’, has reportedly suffered a data breach involving a wealth of user profile information.

Reports of the data breach began to circulate yesterday (June 29), with the network responding to the allegations by claiming that no ‘data breach’ had taken place.

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This comes just two months after a similar instance of mass leaking of user information hit the platform, with reports of 500 million users’ profile information being divulged through data scraping back in April.

LinkedIn said at the time that this was not a breach of their site as the information had been pulled and scraped from other sources rather than LinkedIn.

But the latest instance of a reported breach on the platform has seen concerns about information security on the site resurface.

Here’s everything to know about the alleged LinkedIn data breach, who has been affected and what data scraping means.

Did LinkedIn have a data breach?

The sale of LinkedIn user information was first reported yesterday by VPN review site PrivacySharks, who discovered the data up for sale on database sharing forum and marketplace RaidForum.

According to the groups’ who reviewed the sample, the records include full names, gender, email addresses, phone numbers, and industry information.

There, millions of LinkedIn user records appeared to have been listed as up for sale around a week ago on June 22 – with data scraped from LinkedIn and a range of other sources.

Among the records, PrivacySharks found full names, email addresses, phone numbers, industry information and gender information.

In response, LinkedIn issued a statement yesterday (June 29) in which they said: “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.”

How many LinkedIn users are affected?

While LinkedIn claims that “no private LinkedIn member data was exposed" concerns still remain over the type of profile information which was posted for sale and whether it belonged to only users with publicly visible profile information or also included private profiles.

LinkedIn claims to have 756 million members in over 200 countries and territories worldwide, which makes new reports of a data breach involving 700 million of its users quite alarming.

If this figure is correct, it would mean that almost 93% of LinkedIn’s entire user base is included in the data put up for sale online last week.

PrivacySharks explained that: “The leaked information poses a threat to affected LinkedIn users.

"With details such as email addresses and phone numbers made available to buyers online, individuals could become the target of spam campaigns, or worse still, victims of identity theft.”

They recommend using two-factor authentication to secure any associated accounts and visiting haveibeenpwned.com to find out if any of the information, particularly your email or phone number, associated with your LinkedIn account might have been compromised following the alleged data breach.

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