Change is a constant, and this rings particularly true when considering the last half year. Many of us are spending more time online than ever and starting to pay more attention to our online security. And LinkedIn is yet another platform where you need to protect your online identity. For example, it was recently identified as one of the apps that sneak a peek at your clipboard text.
Whether you are working from home, looking for a new job, or interested in building your network there are a few layers of privacy and security to consider with your LinkedIn account. First, you want to set up an account that is not vulnerable to getting hacked and having your personal information stolen in a data breach. Second, you need to determine how private you want your account to be. That means managing the information you share and leave accessible to other users on and off the site. Lastly, you want to manage the data that LinkedIn collects on you. Here’s how to manage all your privacy and security settings.
How to secure your LinkedIn account from hackers
There are few steps you can take to avoid your LinkedIn account from getting hacked.
Choose a safe password (and change yours if you haven’t yet!)
You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again. Changing your password is the first line of defense against an account breach. Update your password – not only on LinkedIn – but for every account where you have used the same one. And make sure you use strong, unique passwords for each account.
Enable LinkedIn’s two-step verification
As most networks nowadays, LinkedIn gives you the option to use their two-step verification. It is an extra layer of security that makes sure that you, and only you, can log into your account – even if your password has been stolen.
In order to set it up, go to Account and click Settings & Privacy, then click on Sign in & security and scroll down to ‘Two-step verification” click to turn it on, choose your verification method, and follow the instructions on screen.
If you are unsure if your account has already been hacked or not, while you are in Sign in & security click on Where you’re signed in to see the devices actively signed into your account. Sign out of anything you don’t recognize. Next, click on Permitted services to review and remove any apps you don’t want to have access to your account. Check out this blog post if you need more information about the tell-tale signs of a hacked social media account.
How to change your LinkedIn privacy settings
Now that that’s set click on the privacy tab. Once there you should consider checking out all the options (and perhaps updating some of them). While you might want to get as connected as possible, it’s important that you know what exactly you are sharing with whom. Should everyone have access to your activity feed, home address, and phone number for example? And what about your connections; Do people really need to know with whom you’ve worked or are acquainted with?
Now – you might wonder why it actually does matter and what it has to do with your security: In a world were phishing and scamming are becoming more sophisticated and rely more and more on social engineering, information like that are invaluable to cybercriminals.
To manage your privacy of your profile, go to Settings and privacy. Start by reviewing what you have chosen under Account preferences -> Site preferences. Once you have made your selections go to Visibility. Here you can adjust your settings of the visibility of your profile and network and choose who sees contact information like your email address. This is also where you can control who is allowed to see your activity on the platform.
Be mindful of your connections
LinkedIn is an amazing resource where connections can play an important role in your career trajectory. So, while you might want to get as connected as possible, it’s important to be aware of what kinds of information you are sharing with whom – and to evaluate what’s really necessary. For example, should everyone have access to your activity feed, home address, and phone number? And what about your connections? Does everyone need to know with whom you are acquainted or have worked with?
If might not be immediately obvious, but that kind of information is exactly what is used by cybercriminals in social engineering attacks. Collecting as much personal information about you, your company, and your network allows threat actors to come up with effective scams and phishing attacks.
It’s also important to think before automatically accepting a connection request. Take some time to look at the person’s profile and see if everything checks out. It’s also not a bad idea to do a quick web search to see if the results match watch is stated on their profile.
Be alert for phishing scams
As with other social network platforms, you’ll find a variety of scammers on LinkedIn, too. The goal is to send you an enticing message or offer to get you to click on a malicious link or open a file infected with malware. Attempts range from messages like, “You’ve won one month of free premium account, please login with your LinkedIn account information below” to offering amazing jobs that allow you to work from home, but where you’ll never be paid a cent.
If you ever receive such a private message – or any message that seems suspicious – make sure to report it to LinkedIn immediately and block the contact.
How to manage the data LinkedIn collects on you
You may or may not be aware that LinkedIn collects a lot of data about you via your profile. However, you can manage how the data is used by going into Settings & Privacy -> Data Privacy. Here you get an overview of how LinkedIn is using your data and you can even request a download of everything they have collected about you. Also check the Advertising data and set your Advertising preferences. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to fully keep LinkedIn or third parties from collecting data about you.