Hackers use fake LinkedIn profiles to target users

Hackers are now increasingly using fake LinkedIn profiles to target professionals and innocent job seekers, says security firm Symantec. Hackers are doing this by creating duplicate profiles and using stock images to trick other users.

The fact that applying for a job on LinkedIn involves providing a load of personal information like location, e-mail address, date of birth, gender and educational qualifications, the site has now become a major lure for hackers who are looking for a quick way to steal private information of professionals.

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The hackers also direct job seekers to websites ridden with malware where the security of users' devices may also be compromised. Symantec is currently working with LinkedIn to track down such fake profiles and removing them altogether.

"Most of these fake accounts have been quite successful in gaining a significant network - one had 500 contacts. Some even managed to get endorsements from others," said Dick O'Brien, researcher at Symantec to the BBC.

LinkedIn is also serious regarding the presence of such profiles in its database.  "We investigate suspected violations of our Terms of Service, including the creation of false profiles, and take immediate action when violations are uncovered.

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We have a number of measures in place to confirm authenticity of profiles and remove those that are fake. We encourage members to utilise our Help Center to report inaccurate profiles and specific profile content to LinkedIn," said LinkedIn.

Most of the fake profiles on LinkedIN use pictures of women that are either copied from other profiles or are of models whose pictures are easily available on the web. If you are curious about any recruiter profile, you can reverse search the picture on Google Images or can paste the profile information on Google to find out if it has been copied from somewhere else.

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