Woman Files $5 Million Lawsuit against LinkedIn for Security Breach

Katie Szpyrka of Illinois filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Northern California against the professional networking website LinkedIn. She has sued the company for a security breach after the company announced that hackers had stolen 6.5 million user passwords. She is seeking class-action status for the lawsuit.

The hackers published the passwords on a Russian hacking website. LinkedIn stresses that only the passwords were published. According to LinkedIn, the passwords were not connected to any information that would connect the password to the user’s login information.

LinkedIn Failed to Safeguard Users’ Personal Data

Szpyrka claims that LinkedIn failed to adequately protect the password information for its users. She also alleges that LinkedIn breached its own privacy policy and failed to rely on industry standards for Internet security. Szpyrka is a premium member of LinkedIn. She intends to pursue her claim as a class-action lawsuit.

LinkedIn is based in Mountain View, California. The networking website has over 160 million users. The site’s privacy policy states that the company relies on industry standard technology to protect its users’ information from privacy breaches.

The suit alleges that LinkedIn used outdated technology to protect its users’ information. According to the lawsuit, LinkedIn passwords were protected by “hashes” but were not “salted” to add an additional layer of protection. Salting greatly increases the difficulty for hackers who attempt to decipher encrypted passwords.

Hashing refers to an algorithm a site uses to encode password data. Even if the data is stolen, the hackers must decode the information before it will be useful. Salting refers to adding a series of numbers to each hashed value. As standard industry practice, companies combine hashing with salting to enhance the security of the encrypted data.

LinkedIn’s Reaction

After LinkedIn learned about the security breach on June 6, the company immediately reset the passwords for the users who were affected by the breach. According to the LinkedIn blog, the company is working closely with the FBI to track down the perpetrators.

Erin O’Harra, a spokesman for LinkedIn, says that Szpyrka’s claim is without merit. She is claiming that the lawsuit is an attempt to make money from a third party’s criminal action. She insists that no LinkedIn users had been injured due to the breach. O’Harra stressed that the company will vigorously defend itself from the lawsuit.

According to a study by the Ponemon Institute, the average breach costs a company around $5.5 million dollars. This study was sponsored by Symantec, a computer security firm.

Internet Security Lawsuits on the Rise

There have been other similar lawsuits filed against Internet companies seeking damages due to leaked customer data. Unfortunately for plaintiffs of these suits, it is exceedingly difficult to prove that they have been injured due to the breach. If they cannot show that they have actually suffered harm, they will be unable to collect damages.

Theresa Stevens of Beaumont, Texas seeks to represent the 24 million Zappos.com customers whose personal information was compromised due to a security breach. Zappos.com is an online shoe retailer, owned by Amazon.com. Stevens claims that, due to the security breach, customers are subject to receive “phishing” emails that trick people into submitting personal data to criminals. In her lawsuit, she wants Amazon.com to pay for credit monitoring and identity theft insurance to protect customers from becoming targets of identity theft. She is also suing for loss of privacy and emotional distress.


About the Author: Jonathan Peterson is a freelance tech blogger when he isn’t writing on behalf of Insurance Swami, a site that helps you find affordable car insurance.

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  1. praveen says:

    wow what a deep research on this topic..linkedin would be worried…and i think they will secure their privacy…nywy gud work…:)
    praveen recently posted..Tricks for Writing a Post People Will StudyMy Profile

  2. Aditya says:

    $ 5million lawsuit…a huge amount for security breach.hope LinkedIn from now on have to make sure not to repeat such stuff.They are paying for what they have claimed is their top priority.But i must say the hackers are smart enough to do so.Just to make the reputation down,But what is the need to do it…?This logic is Out of my mind.
    Aditya recently posted..ERP Software DevelopmentMy Profile

  3. Peter Lee

    WOW! $5mil! That’s what I call “A person’s pain is another person’s gain”!
    Peter Lee recently posted..4 Scary Ways Your Personal Information Is Being UsedMy Profile

  4. Richa from nappy cake says:

    This is one heck of an amount. I read this news and was a bit shocked. Some people knows how to makes money out of anything. LinkedIn will surely learn a big lesson.

  5. Aayna from value of diamond says:

    A well researched post! I guess I was living under the rock, as I was totally unaware about this development. It is indeed a big lesson for LinkedIn. Thanks for sharing the post.

  6. anshul says:

    i think it’s a huge amount that hacked.it is a big news in a cyber crime.i didn’t get this how the people do this ,ofcourse it’s a really big challenge to cyber crime.and in facts Linkedln will surely learn a big lesson……………
    anshul recently posted..Online Banking SoftwareMy Profile

  7. Fatima from Enneagram workshops says:

    So rightly deserved by LinkedIn. I hope the plaintiffs can prove the damages caused. Thanks for sharing the news.

  8. Dipa from baby nappy cakes says:

    Wonder what the outcome is. Thanks for this informative news article. All networks like this must have rolled up their sleeves and heightened their security.

  9. Lee says:

    Hi that’s crazy I know it is terrible when something is leaked or hackers. But to then try to claim that sort of money is madness.


  10. Kristine from Bankruptcy Lawyer Suffern says:

    Nowadays some people really find the means to make money out of nothing, this is quite an interesting read and I can’t wait to find out how it will turn out. Thanks for the share!

  11. Joy from cash for jewelry says:

    I must say that the security breach that happened evolved into a liability that is now out of control. I’m sure that if this case prospers, the other victims of this so-called security threat will come forward to claim their moral damages too. This is must be an extremely frustrating time for Linkedin. Thanks for sharing the news.
    Joy recently posted..Cash for Gold Scams OnlineMy Profile

  12. Meena Thakur says:

    Thats misuse of the law system.If we go by the books the women would win but its highly unethical.Everyone does mistakes.
    Meena Thakur recently posted..How to find free Xbox live codes?My Profile

  13. Abhishek from massage schools california says:

    Linkedin is the most used social networking website by professionals. A lot of recruiters and professionals rely on Linkedin for seeking jobs and making business contacts. Such a breach is unacceptable from a website like Linkedin which charges hefty amount from its paid members. Will keenly look forward to the result of this lawsuit and it may be a lesson for other companies as well and they should take all the steps to protect confidential user infomation.

  14. sheya says:

    Fighting with companies like LinkedIn is not an easy task. Let us wish her to win the 5 million .
    sheya recently posted..Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 and 8.9 Price Specifications and Video ReviewMy Profile

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