LinkedIn users want $5m for data breach

By Marcos Colon on Jun 21, 2012 8:10 AM
Filed under Security

Band together in lawsuit.

A class-action lawsuit has been filed against LinkedIn over the June 6 data breach that resulted in the theft of nearly 6.5 million passwords.

The plaintiff, Katie Szpyrka, a premium LinkedIn user, is seeking more than $US5 million in damages for the class.

While LinkedIn's privacy policy promises its users that their information is secured through “industry standards, protocols and technology,” the company failed to implement “crucial security measures," according to the complaint.

“Because LinkedIn used insufficient encryption methods to secure the user data, hackers were able to easily decipher a large number of the passwords,” according to the lawsuit.

Following the breach, the social networking site said it used SHA-1 as its encryption method, a hashing function created by the National Security Agency in 1995, but considered to be outdated by security professionals.

In addition, the company did not salt user passwords, a method which randomly appends a string of characters in each password, thus adding an extra layer of security and making the data more difficult for attackers to decrypt.

Since the exposure, LinkedIn announced in a blog post that it has bolstered its security efforts, which includes salting user passwords. However, in the complaint the plaintiff argued that the company's updates are “too little, too late.”

Erin O'Harra, a spokeswoman for LinkedIn, said the company recently became aware of the lawsuit, but has no reason to believe any users of the website were "injured" by the breach.

“It appears that these threats are driven by lawyers looking to take advantage of the situation,” O'Harra said. “We believe these claims are without merit, and we will defend the company vigorously against suits trying to leverage third-party criminal behavior.”

Szpyrka's attorney, Sean Reis with Edelson McGuire, could not be reached for comment.

Lawsuits that follow breaches are common, but often face a difficult climb for plaintiffs, unless they able to prove financial harm.

This article originally appeared at

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Copyright © SC Magazine, US edition

LinkedIn users want $5m for data breach
Top Stories
Office 365 trainer signs first-ever Australian reseller
HubOne to bring ClipTraining's Microsoft education to our shores.
Former VMware staffer becomes Tintri's Australian chief
Also has Brocade, Legato country manager stints on resume.
HP's looming price hike could drive sales blitz
Australian rises of 10% or more coming, echoing Cisco and Apple.
Sign up to receive CRN email bulletins
Do you get value out of partner conferences?

Latest Comments
CRN Magazine

Issue: 335 | January/February 2015

CRN Magazine looks in-depth at the emerging issues and developments for the channel, and provides insight, analysis and strategic information to help resellers better run their businesses.