Feeds

LinkedIn password hack sueball kicked to the kerb by judge

Leaked hashes not an automatic threat of identity theft

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

A class-action lawsuit launched against LinkedIn after hackers leaked the website's user passwords has been dismissed before reaching trial.

Northern California US District Judge Edward Davila ruled that two premium-account holders had been unable to demonstrate they suffered any actual harm as a result of the 2012 hack, which resulted in the online exposure of 6.5 million password hashes.

LinkedIn failed to salt these encoded login credentials, which were created using the outdated SHA-1 algorithm. Salting hashes, for the uninitiated, thwarts attempts to recover the original passwords.

Katie Szpyrka of Illinois and Khalilah Wright of Virginia sued within days of the breach becoming public knowledge in June 2012, alleging that LinkedIn failed to stick by a promise on security outlined in its privacy policy.

The duo sought compensation for an alleged breach of contract, claiming in part that they would not have paid to upgrade to a premium account if they had known that the social network didn't offer industry-recommend security even to its paying customers.

However, Judge Davila said premium users were paying for extra networking tools and website features rather than tighter security.

Szpyrka and Wright also admitted that they had not read LinkedIn's privacy policy prior to the hack, another factor that counted against them, according to Threatpost.

The privacy policy at the time made a promise that "LinkedIn is password-protected, and sensitive data (such as credit-card information) is protected by SSL encryption" and stated that the social network audits its system for vulnerabilities. The policy also declared that "all information that you provide will be protected with industry-standard protocols and technology" which could be taken to refer to how LinkedIn itself stored and protected passwords, among other things. The policy went on to warn that security breaches were a potential problem for any online business.

Judge Davilia tossed out the case after ruling that the exposure of Wright's password didn't necessarily place her at greater risk of identity theft.

It was feared miscreants would crack the unsalted password hashes, discover the original passwords and use them to unlock accounts on other websites as too many folks reuse the same login credentials across the web for convenience.

But the breach didn't result in any financial harm or injury to Wright, according to the judge:

Wright merely alleges that her LinkedIn password was “publicly posted on the Internet on June 6, 2012”. In doing so, Wright fails to show how this amounts to a legally cognizable injury, such as, for example, identify theft or theft of her personally identifiable information.

Judge Davila's ruling can be found here [PDF]. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Ice cream headache as black hat hacks sack Dairy Queen
I scream, you scream, we all scream 'DATA BREACH'!
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
JLaw, Kate Upton exposed in celeb nude pics hack
100 women victimised as Apple iCloud accounts reportedly popped
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
Three quarters of South Korea popped in online gaming raids
Records used to plunder game items, sold off to low lifes
Oz fed police in PDF redaction SNAFU
Give us your metadata, we'll publish your data
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.