700 million LinkedIn user records are now being sold to hackers

Social networks are often associated with a younger demographic and unprofessional behavior, but the term technically includes even networks used for more serious matters. For more than a decade now, LinkedIn's name has become synonymous with professional networking, the kind of thing you'd often do at parties and social gatherings, except completely online. It might not be as big as a catch as Facebook, but that still makes LinkedIn a prime target for hacks and leaks, as shown by this latest incident involving 700 million user records.

Before the alarms go off, LinkedIn wasn't hacked, or at least that's what the company insists. There was no data breach that led to user data being stolen by hackers. More importantly, no private data of the network's members were exposed.

What happened, according to LinkedIn, was a simple but exhaustive data scraping activity that yielded that whopping 700 million figure. That data treasure trove included users' full names, email addresses, phone numbers, and work information. The seller, who goes by the name "GOD User" TomLiner, provided 1 million records as proof of the loot and was confirmed as the real deal by independent researchers.

This wouldn't be the first massive leak LinkedIn experienced in this year alone. Just last April, a batch of 500 million user records was also offered to the highest bidder. Back then, LinkedIn made the same statement blaming it on data scraping methods, which violate its terms of use anyway.

While super-sensitive personal data, like credit card details or private messages, are not included in the haul, the records still include enough information to do users harm. Phishing attacks, spam, and even brute force hacking attempt are not far from possibility, and LinkedIn users are advised to change their passwords anyway, just to be on the safe side.