A report has alleged that personal data of 500 million users of LinkedIn has been put on sale, a charge that the professional networking platform has denied, saying no private member account data was impacted.
The report by CyberNews claimed that an archive containing data purportedly scraped from 500 million LinkedIn profiles has been put for sale on a popular hacker forum, with another 2 million records leaked as a proof-of-concept sample by the post author.
This included full names, email addresses, phone numbers and workplace information, among other data, it said.
The report, however, did not specify the impact on users in India. However, the Microsoft-owned company said it investigated the alleged set of LinkedIn data and determined that it is actually an aggregation of data from a number of websites and companies.
“It does include publicly viewable member profile data that appears to have been scraped from LinkedIn. This was not a LinkedIn data breach, and no private member account data from LinkedIn was included in what we’ve been able to review,” a statement on the company website said.
Data scraping refers to an automated process of extracting data from a website. While it can be useful for research, and makes it faster and easier to copy large amounts of data, the data scraping process can also infringe upon protected content like personal data.
LinkedIn further said its members trust the platform with their data, and it takes action to protect that trust.
“Any misuse of our members’ data, such as scraping, violates LinkedIn terms of service. When anyone tries to take member data and use it for purposes LinkedIn and our members haven’t agreed to, we work to stop them and hold them accountable,” it added.
LinkedIn has over 722 million users globally. Previous reports show that India is among the biggest markets for LinkedIn, where it had over 62 million users at the end of 2019.