Feeds

Data scrapers used Amazon cloud to reap biz bods' CVs, wails LinkedIn

Files lawsuit to demand identities of 'John Does' from shopping giant

Seven Steps to Software Security

LinkedIn is still waging its battle against “scrapers”, who use software to automatically harvest publicly available personal information from the social network.

And that fight has today wound up in a California court where the website's bosses are trying to unmask the miscreants who have reaped the site for users' employment histories and other data.

According to the filing against 10 "John Does" in the US District Court, Northern District of California, the attackers circumvented anti-abuse technologies in LinkedIn's setup – in particular, the technology known as FUSE, which limits the amount of activity on the network a single account can carry out before being blocked.

LinkedIn alleged the scrapers did this by using Amazon's EC2 cloud “to rent virtual computers on which to run their own computer programs and applications".

"Amazon EC2 provides resizable computing capacity ... The Doe defendants used Amazon EC2 to create virtual machines to run automated bots to scrape data from LinkedIn's website”, the complaint alleges.

The scraping took place in May and June, we're told, and LinkedIn says the miscreants used their AWS accounts to create “thousands” of fake profiles (along the way, managing to defeat its CAPTCHAs) to conduct the scraping.

Other security measures the attackers circumvented included “Sentinel”, which limits the number of requests permitted from a single IP address, and the restrictions on crawling that are implemented in its robots.txt file.

LinkedIn hopes that, by bringing the matter to court and triggering a discovery phase, it will be able to force Amazon to hand over identifying information on who created the AWS EC2 accounts.

The full complaint – which alleges counts of computer fraud and abuse; violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act; breach of contract; and trespass – is here to read [PDF]. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

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
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Black Hat anti-Tor talk smashed by lawyers' wrecking ball
Unmasking hidden users is too hot for Carnegie-Mellon
Attackers raid SWISS BANKS with DNS and malware bombs
'Retefe' trojan uses clever spin on old attacks to grant total control of bank accounts
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
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.