Beware of LinkedIn’s Pitfalls Warns Top Cyber Expert

by Fraser Clarke

Monday, January 22nd, 2018

ONE of the country’s leading experts on cybercrime is warning Scots to be wary of the hidden dangers LinkedIn can pose.

Gerry Grant, Chief Ethical Hacker with the Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC), is urging caution from those who use the popular social media network – in the run up to Safer Internet Day.

LinkedIn is a business and employment orientated social site where users can upload their CV and connect with other professionals working in the same or complementary industries.

However, such is the nature of the network, where people often accept requests from people they have never met in order to grow their business profile, it has become a prime location for cyber criminals to operate.

Gerry believes scammers are prevalent on the site and continue to adapt the way they operate, becoming increasingly sophisticated in their attacks.

He said: “On LinkedIn, it is commonplace to receive requests from people you don’t know and may seem more reasonable to accept them as the idea of the site is to find employment or learn more about particular sectors.

“However, this makes it an easy place for hackers to try and strike up a seemingly legitimate relationship with you.

“Previously, it was known that they’d use “catfish” type techniques, attractive profile pictures to trick young professionals, however, as people become wise to this, they’re now masquerading as influential business people, such as senior lawyers or accountants.

“Once they’ve gained trust, they may well send you what they claim to be a CV or a pitch to take a look at – whereas in reality it can be malicious content that steals private details from you, your employees or customers.”

Identity theft is another issue facing LinkedIn users given the sheer depth and extent of personal information uploaded to many profiles.

Gerry added: “Your whole CV is on there, along with where you went to university, where you went to school and the dates and grades achieved, plus much more.

“So it can be easy for a scammer to add you and then know a whole lot about you, despite you never actually having met them.”

Gerry feels there are some simple but effective tips that can help people stay safe when looking to grow their network.

He said: “I’m not suggesting people be scared to add the legitimate people they’ve met or had dealings with.

“But if there is a request you’re a little unsure of, then simple things like sending a message before accepting can be enough to flag that you are not likely to sleepwalk into a scam.”

A recently updated and easy to follow factsheet, highlighting key information around LinkedIn and guidance on safe and proper use of the social media network is available at:

Safer Internet Day 2018 will be celebrated globally on Tuesday 6th February 2018 with the slogan “Create, Connect and Share Respect: A better internet starts with you”.

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    Young PR professional Fraser Clarke, who works with public relations agency, Holyrood PR in Edinburgh, Scotland

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