The use of social media to network and find job opportunities has become increasingly popular in recent years, but it also raises concerns about privacy and security. LinkedIn, the largest professional social network, has been the target of cybercriminals looking to gather personal information for malicious purposes.
One common method that criminals use to gather this information is through web scraping, which allows them to compile “contact lists” packed with up-to-date and valuable data. LinkedIn users often choose to make their information public, including their personal or professional contact details, unwittingly providing an easy target for criminals to gather information.
Web scrapers can create lists of employees of a company by accessing the “People” tab of the target company, allowing them to compile an up-to-date list of employees. Additionally, they can review interactions on the company’s social media posts to identify potential suppliers and partners, thus obtaining new high-priority targets or potential avenues to attack the primary target’s supply chain.
Users have the option to choose what information they make public on their profiles. Some may choose not to share any contact information outside the platform and their direct connections, significantly limiting the amount of information that criminals can gather. However, others may choose to divulge their current corporate email addresses or phone numbers, increasing the risk of being targeted by malicious individuals.
To mitigate these risks, LinkedIn users should configure their privacy settings to limit the information available to those outside their circle of connections. They should also limit the amount of information in their profiles, prioritize contact through the platform itself, and carefully review and evaluate connection requests to avoid accepting requests from fake profiles or bots.
Users should also review their list of connections regularly and remove contacts that appear suspicious. Additionally, they should exercise caution about broadcasting their profile updates, as criminals could exploit these updates to send malicious emails or messages.
In conclusion, while LinkedIn is a valuable platform for networking and job seeking, users should take measures to strike a balance between networking and safeguarding their personal information. By implementing these precautions, users can minimize the risk of unwanted contact, privacy breaches, and malicious attacks.