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Ultimate LinkedIn Security

LinkedinTo get the full benefits and rewards of using LinkedIn, it’s important to first understand your risks and how to protect your reputation. Hundreds of millions of business professionals use LinkedIn to become more successful and be more productive. By using LinkedIn, you want to:

  1. Establish a powerful personal profile.
  2. Control one of the top search results for your name.
  3. Keep informed about your industry.
  4. Reach others that can help you.

The problem is that many LinkedIn members are unaware of privacy issues or common security settings. Annually an estimated 10% of Linked profiles are hacked, defaced, and utilized for illicit spam. This Ultimate LinkedIn Security Guide has been created to provide concise and comprehensive security usage for LinkedIn.

Understand LinkedIn Terms of Service

LinkedIn prides itself on being a “members first” company. In the past, the User Agreement and Privacy Policy gave LinkedIn broad rights to use member posted content. Although those rights were rarely exercised, LinkedIn has now narrowed content rights to specifically state that members own the content they post:

  • You own your content that you post on our services.
  • If you delete anything from our services, our rights to it will end.
  • We don’t have exclusive rights to your content.
  • We don’t license or sell your content to third-parties (like advertisers, publishers, and websites) without your express written permission.
  • We won’t alter the intent of your content.

Obviously, LinkedIn can’t control what others do with your content. Some content may need to be translated or adjusted for formatting and technical reasons. Know that any posted content such as Pulse Articles are building more search authority for LinkedIn, rather than your own website or blog. That’s the tradeoff for potentially more viewers (even though you own the content), but any links from LinkedIn are “nofollow” with no benefit for your site or blog in search results.

Top 5 Ways to Protect Your LinkedIn Account

LinkedIn takes member safety and privacy very seriously. By default, all LinkedIn accounts are already protected by a series of automatic checks that are designed to thwart unauthorized sign-in attempts and keep your data safe. However, there are few additional steps you can take to protect your privacy and control your digital footprint on LinkedIn.

1. Update your Privacy Settings to Disable Activity Broadcasts and Connection Views

Any time you change your profile, whatever you change is broadcast to all of your existing connections. Whenever another member visits your profile, they are able to see all of your connections. Likewise, when you view another member’s profile, they are notified with your name, photo, and headline.

Take a look at your LinkedIn settings today to eliminate unwanted sharing:

  • Turn on/off your activity broadcasts: Uncheck this option so your connections don’t see when you make changes to your profile, follow companies, or recommend connections.
  • Select what others can see when you’ve viewed their profile: Select complete privacy mode to view member information anonymously.
  • Select who can see your connections: Thwart snooping competitors by making your connections only be visible to you.
  • Show/Hide “Viewers of this profile also viewed” box on my Profile page: Disable this option so the focus is solely on your profile.

Note, that you can also block another member from viewing your profile or status updates. Go to the profile of the person you want to block and select “Block or Report” from the drop-down menu at the top of the profile summary.

2. Opt into Two-Step Verification to Protect Your Account from Being Hacked

LinkedIn offers members the ability to turn on two-step verification for their accounts, which will require an account password and a numeric code sent to your phone via text message whenever we don’t recognize the new device you’re attempting to sign in from. See the Slideshare presentation below and check out the tips on troubleshooting two-step authentication.

3. Opt into Secure Browsing (HTTPS) for Extra Protection Against Unauthorized Access to Your Activity on LinkedIn

A good indicator of a protected connection on a website is a https:// connection. While LinkedIn automatically secures a connection when you are on certain pages that require sensitive information (such as using a credit card), you also have the option to turn on this protected connection when viewing all pages across LinkedIn.

Learn more about turning this feature on in your account. LinkedIn is currently working on making this a default setting.

4. Change Your Password Regularly to Help Safeguard Your LinkedIn Account

Never give your password to others or write it down. While opting into two-step authentication mitigates many password vulnerabilities, always sign out of your account after you use LinkedIn. Here are some more best practices:

  • Change your password every few months
  • Don’t use the same password on all the sites you visit
  • Don’t use a word from the dictionary
  • Think of a meaningful phrase, song or quote and turn it into a complex password using the first letter of each word
  • Randomly add capital letters, punctuation or symbols
  • Substitute numbers for letters that look similar (for example, substitute “0” for “o” or “3” for “E”

5. Watch Out for Phishing Emails Requesting Personal or Sensitive Information

LinkedIn will never ask for your sensitive personal or financial information via email. To confirm whether a message is really from LinkedIn or not, here are a few things you can look for:

  • All valid LinkedIn messages will contain a security footer and it’s not a good practice to open any attachments or click any links in an email that seems suspicious or from an unknown party.
  • Here are some indicators which should raise your suspicions that the email claiming to be from LinkedIn is not legitimate:
    • The message is telling you to open an email attachment or install a software update.
    • The message contains bad spelling and grammar.
    • The message contains a threat of some kind. Example: your account will be deleted unless you act right away.

Before clicking on any links within an email, it’s a good idea to move your cursor over the links to see where they’re actually directing you. In the case of an email from LinkedIn, if it’s not directing you back to the LinkedIn website, you can treat the message as a phishing attempt. Visit the LinkedIn Safety Center for more information.

Keep up with new LinkedIn features at the Official LinkedIn Blog.

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