ALERT: LinkedIn, Twitter Tainted by Gawker Hack

Gawker got hacked. Twitter and LinkedIn were compromised. Is your online identity safe?

Is it too coincidental to be a coincidence? When I checked my email this morning, I found a message from LinkedIn telling me that my account had been disabled temporarily – and to change my password. This comes the morning after Gawker admitted to being hacked, requiring 1.5 million users to change their passwords.

The disease spread quickly and to places that you wouldn’t expect.

Users who had the same username/password combinations on Gawker that they did on other sites seem to have been at greater risk. Peter Kafka of AllThingsD notes the “rash of promotional tweets for a bogus berry weight loss product” on Twitter and that they were alleged to be related to the compromising of the Gawker accounts.

LinkedIn, meanwhile, temporarily disabled the accounts it believes were affected by the breach (i.e., those in the database of hacked accounts) and has notified those impacted with a request to change their passwords.

Kafka reports that only a “small fraction” of the 85 million-member LinkedIn community were affected, according to the company’s PR rep Hani Durzy. Further, Kafka writes, “He says the social network made the decision proactively, not because it had any evidence that any accounts had been misused.” There was no mention of this on LinkedIn’s blog.

It looks as though the number of people actually impacted on LinkedIn will be quite low, as we’re looking at some subset of 1.5 million Gawker users as a percentage of the 85 million on LinkedIn. Even if there is a 1:1 correspondence, the odds are overwhelming that one’s account wasn’t touched in this event.

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