LinkedIn investigates 'theft' of 6.5 million passwords published on Russian hacking forum
LINKEDIN, the professional networking website, is investigating claims that 6.5 million of its users' passwords have been stolen and published on a Russian computer hacking forum.
According to security experts the passwords are circulating in the form of a cryptographic “hash”, which converts text into a seemingly random string of numbers and letters using a mathematical formula.
It means anyone wishing to use the hashed passwords would need some technical expertise and time to recover their original characters.
LinkedIn users were warned by some to change their passwords as soon as possible as a precaution.
"It would seem sensible to suggest to LinkedIn users that they change their passwords as soon as possible as a precautionary step,” said Graham Cluley of the British internet security firm Sophos.
“Don't delay. Do it now.”
Users who have used the same password on LinkedIn as on other websites were also warned to change it elsewhere.
LinkedIn, which boasts more than 150 million users who use it to form professional connections and post their CV online, made no comment except to say it was investigating the claims, which spread quickly and began trending on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon.
Twitter: LinkedIn - Our team is currently looking into reports of stolen passwords. Stay tuned for more.
A spokesman for the firm did not return a call requesting comment.
It is unknown whether the other data was as well as passwords, such as user names, was stolen.