An Introduction to LinkedIn Privacy and Security

Security & Privacy

When F-Secure Labs discovered the email behind the RSA hack, it was remarkable how simple it was. Yet it was targeted to hit just the right professional who clicked on exactly the wrong attachment. The consequence of this one mistake sent ripples across the world.

As we get better at avoiding traditional threats, online crooks have to innovate. Not only do they have to count on you making quick decisions, they will use anything you share online against you. Hacktivists may just use your content to humiliate you. And criminals may use it to hack you or your employer.

LinkedIn presents many of the security and privacy issues of Facebook. Yet you rarely hear the concerns or horror stories that seem to come out of Facebook on a regular basis. Why? People tend to treat it as a function of work. Best behavior abounds.

Still whenever you’re using social media, you need to make sure your system and security software are up to date (our Health Check makes that easy). And here are a few additional precautions you can take to safeguard your online life.

1. Connect wisely.
Facebook says that they expect you to really know all your friends. Then they make millions off games the encourage you to befriend strangers. LinkedIn expects you to have some sort of connection with the people you connect with. As these are opt-in relationships, you have to decide what your boundaries are. If you are searching for work or sales, you may wish to extend your network, if you’re feeling secure and/or overexposed you can trim your connections by going to Contacts > Connections > (Upper right) Remove Connections>.

2. Revisit what you share.
LinkedIn offers an opportunity to share both your email address and your phone number. The more people who have this information, the easier it can be for someone to use it against you. If you share your email, you need to remind yourself that the right attachment can still get around your security if you make the wrong click. To see if you what you’re sharing, go to Profile > Edit Profile> (Scroll all the way down to find “Personal Information”).

If your security is extremely important to you and others, you probably shouldn’t share your contact information online voluntarily. And you should also not share your connections with your connections. By letting people know who you expect emails from, you’re tipping potential hackers who to pose as. You can turn this feature off by looking in the right corner for your name > Settings. On Settings, click “Select who can see your connections.” Select “Only Me.”

3. Be careful about what you post on any site, of course.
The power of the Internet turned against an individual can be frightening. If you share anything online, a digital copy may exist even if you take it down. Anything truly private should not be shared through anything but private channels protected with secure passwords. If you do not want a future employer to see something, don’t take the risk. Don’t post it on a social site. EXTRA STEP: Google your name and image so you know what others are finding when they search for you now. Try to improve your Google results with new more positive posts that feature your name in the title.

Your LinkedIn profile is your digital resume. Using the service with caution and savvy will help you build relationships and impress your peers.

Cheers,

Anna

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4 Comments

Thank you very much for this advice. That explains why I’ve been getting some unwanted solicitations in my e-mail account.

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