LinkedIn is investigating claims that more than six million of its users’ passwords have been stolen and leaked onto the Internet.
The Daily Telegraph reports that 6.5 million passwords for the professional networking site have been published on a Russian computer hacking forum, in an encrypted “hash” format which transforms the text of the passwords into a series of numbers and letters through a mathematical formula.
According to the BBC, members of the hacking community around the world have been invited to collaborate in decrypting the passwords.
Users of LinkedIn have been advised to change their passwords as soon as possible as a precaution, and have been also warned that if they use their LinkedIn password elsewhere on the Internet they should change it at those other websites too.
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Online security expert Graham Cluley, cited by the Independent, wrote on his blog that “although the data which has been released so far does not include associated email addresses, it is reasonable to assume that such information may be in the hands of the criminals.
“As such, it would seem sensible to suggest to LinkedIn users that they change their passwords as soon as possible as a precautionary step. Of course, make sure that the password you use is unique (in other words, not used on any other websites), and hard to crack.”
LinkedIn, which has more than 150 million users worldwide, tweeted Wednesday: "Our team is currently looking into reports of stolen passwords. Stay tuned for more."
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