LinkedIn Faces ‘Major' Series of Account Intrusions
LinkedIn, a leading professional networking platform, has recently fallen victim to a widespread wave of account hacks, causing significant concern among users. The Linkedin account hacks incidents, which have unfolded over the past few weeks, have not only compromised the privacy of thousands of users but have also exposed them to ransom demands and the threat of permanent deletion of their accounts.
The Rise in Account Hacks
Reports have surfaced across various forums and social media channels, highlighting a significant surge in LinkedIn account hacks breaches over the past 90 days. Cyberint, a cybersecurity research firm, published a report detailing the alarming upward trend in search queries like “LinkedIn account hacked” and “LinkedIn account recovery,” which grew by over 5,000%.
Users worldwide have reported losing control of their accounts, with some being coerced into paying a small ransom to regain access. LinkedIn, a Microsoft subsidiary, has yet to make a public statement about this burgeoning issue, leaving many users feeling frustrated and vulnerable.
Two Attack Scenarios Emerge
Though LinkedIn remains silent on the matter, two prominent scenarios have emerged from the user reports:
- Preemptive Action by LinkedIn: In some instances, LinkedIn has temporarily locked accounts due to suspicious activity or hacking attempts. Users are then notified and asked to verify their accounts and update passwords to regain access. This scenario might involve attempts to breach accounts with two-factor authentication or brute-force attacks on passwords, leading LinkedIn to thwart these endeavors. More information on two-factor authentication can be found here.
- Full Hacking of Accounts: Unfortunately, in other cases, attackers have successfully gained full control of victims' LinkedIn accounts, altering the associated email address and password, rendering it impossible for victims to recover their accounts independently. Some victims have even received ransom messages, typically requesting small amounts, while others have seen their accounts deleted outright.
LinkedIn's Troubled History
LinkedIn's troubles with cybercriminals are not new. Last year, the platform was deemed the most abused brand in phishing attempts, likely due to its recognition and extensive use in the corporate world.
North Korean APT Lazarus was spotted in June using fake LinkedIn profiles to target security researchers in a phishing campaign, as covered by The Hacker News. Furthermore, in July, attackers targeted LinkedIn to take over Facebook Business accounts for malvertising schemes.
Consequences and Security Measures
The recent account-takeover campaign's motive remains unclear, but there's a wide array of malicious activities that threat actors can engage in using compromised profiles. They can use LinkedIn profiles for socially engineered phishing campaigns, access valuable conversations between business colleagues, or damage reputations by making malicious posts.
Security experts, like Emily Phelps, director of threat intelligence firm Cyware, note the criticality of online identities and the risks of falling into the wrong hands.
To counter the threat, Cyberint strongly recommends users to:
- Confirm access to LinkedIn accounts promptly.
- Ensure all contact information within accounts is legitimate.
- Contact LinkedIn immediately if locked out.
- Check for emails indicating extra email additions to accounts.
- Shore up password security and add two-step verification.
The latest wave of LinkedIn account hacks illustrates the growing challenges in maintaining cybersecurity in today's interconnected world. While platforms like LinkedIn offer valuable networking opportunities, they are not immune to the growing sophistication and determination of cyber attackers.
As we wait for a formal response from LinkedIn, it's crucial for users to take individual responsibility for their security by implementing best practices. It also opens a conversation about the responsibilities of social media platforms in protecting their users.
It is a stark reminder that in the digital age, vigilance and adherence to cybersecurity protocols are not just advisable but essential. For more information on securing your LinkedIn account, refer to LinkedIn's official security guide.
What are LinkedIn account hacks?
LinkedIn account hacks refer to unauthorized access to LinkedIn accounts by cybercriminals. These incidents can result in loss of personal information, reputation damage, or even ransom demands to regain account access.
How are the LinkedIn accounts being hacked?
Attackers are using various methods, including phishing emails, brute-force attacks, and changing associated email addresses, to gain unauthorized access to LinkedIn accounts.
Has LinkedIn commented on these account hacks?
As of the article's publication date, LinkedIn has not made an official public statement about the significant wave of account hacks, though they have taken actions in some cases to notify users of suspicious activity.
How can I protect my LinkedIn account from being hacked?
Ensuring strong password security, adding two-step verification, and being vigilant for warning signs such as unfamiliar emails from LinkedIn or added email addresses to your account can increase protection.
What should I do if my LinkedIn account has been hacked?
Immediately contact LinkedIn support and follow their recovery process. Check your associated email and phone details to ensure they are correct, and consider implementing two-step verification for added security.
Is there a ransom demanded in some LinkedIn hacking cases?
Yes, some victims have reported receiving ransom messages, typically requesting small amounts to regain access to their LinkedIn accounts.
Have there been previous attacks on LinkedIn?
LinkedIn has been a target in the past, including spear-phishing campaigns and being deemed the most abused brand in phishing attempts. The platform's widespread use makes it a desirable target for cybercriminals.
What are the possible motives behind these hacks?
The motives can vary, ranging from monetary gain through ransom demands to accessing valuable information for further phishing campaigns or reputational damage.
How have the LinkedIn account hacks been discovered?
The surge in hacking incidents has been identified through conversations on social media, Google searches, and a significant increase in specific search queries related to LinkedIn account recovery and hacking.
Are these hacking incidents localized to a specific region?
The hacking incidents have affected people worldwide, indicating a broad and significant campaign by the attackers.