A June 6 security breach at LinkedIn Corp has left millions of user passwords exposed, including those of business professionals and owners who are now potentially vulnerable to such cyber crimes as phishing, extortion, and fraud and identity theft. A good portion of these are small business owners, who in particular are dependent on networking tools such as LinkedIn for success and business growth. In response to the breach, LinkedIn has shut down potentially affected accounts and then begun the process of restoring them with new passwords. The company reports that all potential risks have been addressed and dealt with.
Interestingly, according to Javelin Strategy and Research, small businesses actually experience fraud 50 percent more than individuals. This makes small business owners much more vulnerable to last week’s breach, as they are more likely to be targeted by fraudsters looking to use their sensitive business information for personal gain. Thus, it’s not surprising that many small business experts are recommending that owners take major steps in light of this breach to reduce their overall risk.
Experts advise that small business professionals make several adjustments to better protect their valuable business data. This includes changing all passwords immediately (and then doing so in a week or two just to be safe). It’s also recommended that small businesses consider utilizing password protection software to help tighten security. Any external emails looking to “help” them with their compromised information should be dismissed. Finally, small business professionals are advised to be on the lookout for potential extortion and be careful who they share sensitive information with.
If a small business finds that indeed their business data has been breached, then it’s recommended that they invest in a good business identity restoration service to help them limit the damage.
Finkle, Jim, and Saba, Jennifer. “LinkedIn’s Reputation Takes a Hit After Security Breach: Customers Fume as Company Maintains Silence.” Calgary Herald. 6/9/12. (6/11/12.) http://www.calgaryherald.com/business/LinkedIn+reputation+takes+after+security+breach/6756727/story.html.
Sileo, John. “How Small Businesses Can Avoid a Data Security Disaster Like LinkedIn’s.” The Washington Post. 6/8/12. (6/11/12.) http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/on-small-business/how-small-businesses-can-avoid-a-data-security-disaster-like-linkedins/2012/06/08/gJQAALjwNV_story.html.
Small Business News. “LinkedIn Security Breach: A Reason to Change Your Passwords (At Least!).” Small Business Trends. 6/11/12. (6/11/12.) http://smallbiztrends.com/2012/06/linkedin-security-breach.html.