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July/August 2012

LinkedIn password leak: Lessons to be learned from LinkedIn breach

The seemingly never-ending stream of data breaches could make it easy to become rather numb to news of another. But the massive LinkedIn password leak, which came to light in June, caught a lot of attention and deservedly so. There were similar password leaks at dating site eHarmony and radio streaming site Lastfm, but the scale of the LinkedIn breach – some 6.5 million passwords – and the fact that LinkedIn is a social networking giant for business professionals, put it in the data breach hall of shame. You’d expect a publicly traded company with more than 160 million members, including executive managers at Fortune 500 businesses, to be diligent about security. But after the millions of LinkedIn passwords were posted to a Russian hacker forum, security experts were shaking their heads at the company’s lax efforts. The company quickly became the butt of jokes in the security community, and its reputation took a beating.  “It tends to be viewed as an organization that would give more resources, care and attention to security ...

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