LinkedIn Security Breach: A Reason to Change Your Passwords (At Least!)

A recent breach of LinkedIn security resulted in 6.5 million “hashed” (i.e., encoded) passwords being stolen and published online. LinkedIn quickly took action, and stresses that only a subset of the encoded passwords had been decoded.  If LinkedIn thinks your password is one of the ones at risk, it disabled your account and sent you notice about choosing a new password.  Still, the incident raises important questions for small businesses about the security of their data, whether shared over social media, stored on a private Website, or on a mobile or other Internet ready device.

LinkedIn Breach Exposes Risks

LinkedIn shares more about security problems. The company, whose site is used as a social networking tool by many in the business community, has insisted it shut down all affected accounts and doesn’t believe other users are at risk after hackers exposed millions of users’ passwords online. But how safe is your LinkedIn account? Reuters

Current security issues should serve as a warning. What lessons should LinkedIn’s millions of business users take from the recent hacking? Well, for one thing, users of services provided by third party vendors cannot assume that these companies are providing adequate security. Wall Street Journal

In account security, users bear some responsibility. A surprising number of LinkedIn users whose passwords were leaked onto the Web this week used combinations like 1234 and 12345. The revelation clearly demonstrates that when it comes to online security, users of social media and other services must be much more careful and take more responsibility for their own protection. Digital Trends

Tips For Protecting Your Business

Take the proper steps. The LinkedIn password breach should teach us all some serious lessons about online security. Steps to take to protect your business include immediately changing all passwords, carefully protecting your passwords once you choose them, avoiding automatically clicking on URL links, sharing information carefully online, educating employees about online security issues, and more. Wall Street Journal

Choose the right password. The LinkedIn breach demonstrates another security issue with many social media business accounts. Picking a strong and secure password difficult for others to guess and keeping that password safe is also critical. One tip that might not be immediately obvious is the importance of avoiding passwords that can be found in a dictionary, no matter how obscure. What other factors go into choosing a secure password? AG Beat

Be ready for cyber attacks. Password problems are not the only threats your business faces while operating online. Like LinkedIn, your site may also be susceptible to attack. Among the most important things to consider when preparing for cyber attacks is to be sure that proper security solutions are deployed, writes Anand Naik in a recent column. What are you doing to prepare? Business Standard

Protect your online customers. While customers appreciate the convenience of online shopping, many still say they feel less secure making purchases online than from a brick-and-mortar store, according to data provided by Neilsen. Small businesses must work hard to protect their online customers and to publicize those efforts so customers understand the efforts that go into keeping their information safe. PC World

Protect your mobile phone. Mobile phones are as common in many small businesses these days as PCs or laptops, and keeping them secure should be a huge priority. After all, while big businesses might be targeted more often, small businesses aren’t immune to hacking. With smartphones holding an increasing amount of vital company data these days, businesses should follow some critical security tips. Fox Small Business Center

Important Questions

Is your online business safe? How can you be sure your small business is safe from hackers and other security risks? Susan Delly has these important suggestions, including a compliance certification you’ll want to meet to protect online merchants, businesses, and shoppers. Troubles at LinkedIn recently highlight the need for security online. Are you vulnerable? ZippyCart

What does Google security mean to you? Google, a huge online player important to many small businesses, has announced its ISO 27001 security certification. The certification is amongst the most widely accepted independent security standards in the world. But how exactly can this certification make a difference to you and your business when operating online? Dynamic Business

More in:

Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Editor for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 16 years. A professional journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional media and online media, he attended Waynesburg University and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. He has held roles of reporter, editor and publisher, having founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press.