Feeds

LinkedIn faces class action suit over password leak

People can take data from us, but not money

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

LinkedIn is facing a class action suit over the security breach that saw millions of users' passwords posted online.

Illinois resident Katie Szpyrka leads the complaint, which alleges that LinkedIn failed to "properly safeguard its users' personally identifiable information".

The complaint filed in California accuses the business network of using a "weak encryption format" for users' information and not having crucial security measures in place.

A LinkedIn spokesperson told The Register that the class action suit's claims were "without merit".

"No member account has been breached as a result of the incident, and we have no reason to believe that any LinkedIn member has been injured," the company said. "Therefore, it appears that these threats are driven by lawyers looking to take advantage of the situation.

"We believe these claims are without merit, and we will defend the company vigorously against suits trying to leverage third-party criminal behaviour."

The 6.5 million user passwords hacked and posted online were in hashed format, but the biz site evidently had not applied any salts. Salting adds extra arbitrary data to a password when it is hashed, thwarting pre-generated tables and making life more difficult for password crackers. The class action suit claims that hashing without salting is not an "industry standard protocol" as promised by LinkedIn's privacy policy.

"Despite its contractual obligation to use best practices in storing user data, LinkedIn failed to utilise basic industry standard encryption methods. In particular, LinkedIn failed to adequately protect user data because it stored passwords in unsalted SHA1 hashed format," the filing said, branding SHA1 "outdated".

The case also latches on to reports that LinkedIn was hacked through an SQL injection attack, which uses weaknesses in a company's website to get into its back-end systems.

"If true, LinkedIn's failure to adequately protect its website against SQL injection attacks - in conjunction with improperly securing its users' personally identifiable information - would demonstrate that the company employed a troubling lack of security measures," the complaint said.

Naturally, the class action suit is looking for attorney fees and damages for US members of LinkedIn. ®

Application security programs and practises

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.