A woman whose LinkedIn password was one of six million leaked online by a hacker earlier this month is suing the professional networking site for $5 million US, Reuters reported Thursday.
The news agency said lawyers for Katie Szpyrka of Illinois filed a motion in U.S. federal court in San Jose, Calif., to have a class-action suit certified against LinkedIn Corp.
They allege the company, based in Mountain View, Calif., deceived customers by not adhering to industry standards when it came to securing its user database.
The company's popular website, where professionals post resumes and personal profiles in order to network with colleagues and potential employers, was one of several targeted by a Russian hacker who posted lists of encrypted passwords to an online message board.
About eight million passwords belonging to users of LinkedIn, the music streaming site Last.fm and the online dating site eHarmony were posted to a discussion forum on the site InsidePro.com devoted to cracking passwords. LinkedIn was the most affected, with about 6.5 million of its users' passwords released.
The passwords were posted in a hashed, or encrypted, format and did not include user names, and LinkedIn told Reuters on Thursday that users' accounts were not breached as a result of the leak.
The company disabled the passwords automatically once the leak came to light and says users were not harmed by the breach.
News of the LinkedIn lawsuit follows a similar case involving Zappos, an online shoe retailer owned by Amazon.com that is being sued over the hacking of account information affecting 24 million of its customers.
A judicial panel in Nevada, where Zappos is based, last week consolidated nine separate class-action suits against the company and ordered them to be heard by the Nevada district court.
It's good to connect social media sites to LinkedIn... except when it's not. If your Tweets and Facebook updates don't often reflect a professional manner, it's best to leave them detached from this networking site. "aT the baR till 4AM!!!" doesn't give off the best impression for prospective employers. On the other hand, if you maintain a relatively professional attitude with social media, link it up! The more relevant updates, the better.
Harassing Other Users
Reaching out to recruiters can be done, but in a respectful way. Asking directly for an email or the phone number of an employer is usually not considered a classy move. Most won't have time to review your resume, so if you approach a recruiter have a specific question about a position without begging for information. Keep in mind some recruiters are more responsive than others, and it's always best if you reach out to contacts with shared connections.
Posting Inappropriate Photos
That tiny profile picture on LinkedIn is your <em>one shot</em> at leaving a visual impression -- so make it a good one. Don't include other people in your photo, and remember to remain professional. Keep the cleavage and shirtless pics on your Facebook account (if you must). Stacy Donovan Zapar, one of the most followed women on LinkedIn, has some great <a href="http://www.stacyzapar.com/2011/06/oh-no-they-didnt-linkedin-avatars-gone.html" target="_hplink">tips on what to avoid </a>when selecting a shot.
Connecting With Anyone And Everyone
The primary point of LinkedIn is to "connect" with others in your field of work. But be careful with your connections: Do you know them personally? Did you do business together? Are they involved in your industry? Remember, LinkedIn is not Facebook and should not be treated as such. Also, check out <a href="http://inmaps.linkedinlabs.com/network" target="_hplink">InMaps</a>, LinkedIn's visual guide to how your connections span. Do most of your connections fall within a few certain categories, or are you too spread out?
Falling Back On Overused Words
When describing your past positions and abilities, refrain from using the same words as everyone else. The top five most commonly used phrases on LinkedIn are: creative, organizational, effective, extensive experience, and track record. "Competition for opportunities can be fierce, so craft your LinkedIn Profile and resume to stand out from the professional pack," said <a href="http://press.linkedin.com/node/1051" target="_hplink">Nicole Williams, LinkedIn's Connection Director</a>.
You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours, right? While this methodology works occasionally, beware of your profile looking insincere. If all of your recommendations come from people whom you've also endorsed, recruiters may believe you and your friends are simply swapping praise. Don't be afraid to reach out to former employers via LinkedIn and request a recommendation that counts.
Neglecting Profiles And Updates
An updated, well-crafted profile is key when trying to appeal to recruiters. Not only should your previous work experience be listed in an organized manner, but your current position should also be included. Companies don't want to guess where you work, so don't leave them wondering. Adding projects or professionally updating your status is another way to stay relevant.
LinkedIn "groups" were created to benefit the user, so stay social and participate in applicable forums. Search for groups in your field of work and in your general location for the most targeted results. Also, be aware of recruiters that may reach out to specific forums and partake in the general group discussion.
Leaving Out Your Real Name
Use your real name in your profile's "name" field, not your email. While you might think adding an email will make you more accessible, it typically throws off LinkedIn's search option. It also <a href="http://www.michaelreynolds.com/marketing/tighten-up-your-linkedin-display-name-or-else/" target="_hplink">violates the User Agreement.</a> Your name is what people will most likely search, so use it.