‘This is not a data breach’: LinkedIn responds to reports of 700M users’ info being sold online

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Several tech news websites have reported that LinkedIn user details, including physical addresses, phone numbers, geolocation data and linked social media accounts are being offered for sale by an anonymous hacker. (Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images)

(NEXSTAR) – Career networking website LinkedIn is attempting to bat down reports that private information from 700 million users is up for sale online.

Several tech news websites have reported that user details, including physical addresses, phone numbers, geolocation data and linked social media accounts are being offered for sale by an anonymous hacker. The data appears to have been scraped from the API, the language allowing applications to talk to each other. In April, details emerged about a similar scraping operation that captured information on some 500 million users.

Though it does not appear passwords were compromised, the website Restore Privacy says such data could be used in phishing and identity theft attempts. Restore Privacy points out that 700 million users would represent 92 percent of all LinkedIn users, according to the company’s website.

LinkedIn said in a subsequent blog post that the “alleged LinkedIn data” was not private and included information from “various other websites.”

“We want to be clear that this is not a data breach and no private LinkedIn member data was exposed. Our initial investigation has found that this data was scraped from LinkedIn and other various websites and includes the same data reported earlier this year in our April 2021 scraping update,” representatives wrote.

Company officials said such a scraping operation violates the platform’s terms of service, and that LinkedIn works to stop such captures of personal information.

The company’s statement was nearly identical to the language used in April after reports surfaced that information about 500 million users had been scraped. At the time, LinkedIn said it had no plans to notify users, according to Reuters.

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