But how well do you know the people in your LinkedIn network? Unless you’re certain about all of them, there’s a good chance at least one of them could be a hacker posing as a current or former colleague. That’s the conclusion attendees at an RSA Security Conference came to recently.
Though much of what the experts discussed at the conference was purely hypothetical, there have already been several high profile hacker attacks that originated from the popular social networking site.
Hackers are aware that LinkedIn is a hot spot for business contacts both current and long ago and that makes it the ideal spot for targeted attacks. Thanks to LinkedIn users who aren’t paying attention to who they’re really allowing into their networks and groups, the hackers are gaining easy access to some pretty major companies including Apple and Google.
Once a hacker has established credibility by infiltrating private groups and networks, getting business people who wouldn’t normally open emailed attachments is a lot easier. And, of course, once the victim clicks on that dreaded .exe file, it’s game on for the hackers.
Avoiding Hackers On LinkedIn
Avoiding hackers on LinkedIn, or anywhere else, isn’t difficult but it does require constant vigilance.
- Be Selective – It’s your social network and you don’t need to include every single person who sends you an invitation. Unless you actually know them, ignore them.
- Watch Those Apps – Read the terms and conditions on all those apps closely. You might be surprised to find out how much information you’re sharing with them.
- Don’t Open Strange Attachments – Business people using cutting edge social media tools shouldn’t need to be reminded of this basic rule. In fact, this is something they should have learned back when most e-mail addresses ended in aol.com.
- Guard Your Groups – If your on a private group for employees of your company, make certain everyone in that group is actually employed there. And don’t forget to periodically go through and remove former employees from the group.
The Bottom Line
Social media is still in its infancy and most of us are still figuring how and when to use the big ones like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. But as we make our way across this new landscape, there’s no reason to forget the basic safety rules that got us this far.
LinkedIn is only a great tool for hackers as long as LinkedIn users allow it to be a great tool for hackers.