Online, Technology

Australians among those affected by LinkedIn data leak

Broede Carmody /

Australians are among those affected by a security breach that saw millions of LinkedIn passwords published online.

Last week, LinkedIn revealed more than 100 million users could be caught up in the aftermath of a data leak that first occurred back in 2012.

While the security breach occurred four years ago, email addresses and passwords thought to have been safe were posted online last week.

The Australian Privacy Commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim, said in a statement LinkedIn has contacted his office to notify him of the security breach.

“My office encourages voluntary notification of data breaches or other potential risks to personal information,” Pilgrim said.

“This is good privacy practice and helps protect business reputation by displaying transparency and proactive management to members or customers. It also gives people the opportunity to take proactive steps to protect their personal information.”

Former South Australian Telstra Young Businesswoman of the Year Steph Horlin-Smith, who is the former general manager of Clarion Hotel Soho and now works in online marketing, is one of the Australians to have their LinkedIn password compromised.

Horlin-Smith told SmartCompany she received an email from LinkedIn Friday morning telling her to reset her password because of a “potential risk”.

“Basically, they automatically reset it,” Horlin-Smith says.

“When I went to LinkedIn the next time, I had to reset my password. I did that straight away. It was a little odd, because I thought, ‘have I done something to cause that to happen?'”

Horlin-Smith says it was only a few hours later when she was reading the news that she realised what had happened.

“I was not too worried to be honest, they were probably [just] trying to sell the data,” she says.

“If it was PayPal or something like that, it would be very concerning.

“But it was dealt with very quickly.”

LinkedIn is the third most popular social media platform in Australia, with more than 6 million users.

The professional networking site said in a statement last week it has “no indication that this is as a result of a new security breach”.

“We take the safety and security of our members’ accounts seriously,” said LinkedIn.

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Broede Carmody

Broede Carmody is a former senior SmartCompany reporter. Before this, he was a co-editor of RMIT University's student magazine Catalyst.

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