LinkedIn Passwords Hacked and Cracked: How to Keep Your Information From Getting Jacked

Written by: Rikki Lux

LinkedIn Hacked

The professional networking site has been compromised

On Wednesday, June 6, 2012, a Norwegian website reported that a file containing 6.5 million passwords from the social media and professional networking site LinkedIn had been added to their website with requests for help cracking them.  This was confirmed by Graham Cluley, a web security consultant in the U.K. The passwords were encrypted with a complicated algorithm that required the hackers to spend some time cracking them.  This means that the weakest passwords were most at risk, and stronger passwords may not have been cracked by the hackers at all.


LinkedIn Passwords Cracked

An example of encryptions that protect LinkedIn passwords


When the internet started buzzing about a possible hacking of the professional social networking site LinkedIn, the company posted a tweet that said they were “looking into reports of stolen passwords.” Two hours later, a tweet appeared that said, “Our team continues to investigate, but at this time, we’re still unable to confirm that any security breach has occurred.”



Since Wednesday, LinkedIn has yet to release a formal statement confirming the severity of this serious infringement of their user’s privacy, but they have provided information and password-strengthening tips on their blog to help protect users from any further intrusion to the site.  Although they have not provided any concrete information as to the extent of the hacking, LinkedIn has reset the passwords of all accounts believed to have been compromised.  LinkedIn also has encouraged all of their 150 million members to reset their passwords whether or not it has been hacked.

LinkedIn has been consistently updating their Twitter accounts, @LinkedIn and @LinkedInNews, regarding any new information about the hacking.  Their most recent blog entry on June 9, 2012 said, “We take this criminal activity very seriously so we are working closely with the FBI as they aggressively pursue the perpetrators of this crime.”  LinkedIn has been adamant that there is no evidence that member information besides the passwords themselves has been published or shared online.

So what can be done to prevent online security breaches? The hacking of 6.5 million passwords is proof that creating a strong password is the best way to avoid password cracking.  According to Jeremy Kirk, PC World columnist, “the longer and more complicated the password – using sprinklings of capital letters, numbers and symbols – the longer and harder it is to crack.”

Here are some tips on creating a strong password:

  • Do not use only numbers.  (In 2010, security company Imperva analyzed stolen passwords from a recent hack and found that half of the passwords were only numbers, greatly increasing the occurrence of the password being figured out.)
  • Try creating a password that is not short and includes letters, numbers, and special characters.  But don’t forget that it needs to be something you will remember.
  • Refrain from using information that relates to your personal life, such as birthdays, nicknames, social security numbers, etc.
  • Do not use extremely simple passwords such as ‘password’ or ‘123456’ because these passwords will be hacked before stronger passwords.
  • Use a different password for every online account you have. Although it is easiest to use one password for all of your online accounts, there is a major drawback: it makes all of your accounts vulnerable to exposure.
  • Change your password frequently, especially if you suspect unusual activity or complications with an account.
  • Use a password manager like LastPass, but do not assume that it is impenetrable.  Even password managers can be compromised – although it is highly unlikely because they use encryption (This means that your passwords are stored locally on your computer.)  Check out their website for more information.

Changing a password as soon as possible after a security breach is the surest way to protect information from hackers.  Situations like the LinkedIn password hacking proves that anything can be obtained online, and users must take steps to prevent themselves from being a victim.

We the Tweeple: Twitter and the 2012 Presidential Election

Written by: Allison Hibbs

“I really think 2012 is going to be the Twitter election.”

That’s what Dick Costolo, CEO of the social media giant, told attendees at a tech conference in California in late January; although the same words might have been uttered by any avid Twitter user who has followed political conversations on the website during the onslaught of GOP debates or the recent State of the Union address leading up to the 2012 Presidential election. Commentary, discussion, fact-checking and ideological rants have flooded the site during these events, involving participants in an interactive political conversation reminiscent of a no-holds-barred town hall brawl.

In fact, among twitterers, trending conversations have often proven to be far more popular than the actual events themselves, a sentiment repeated often during the debates in particular – and with more than a hint of irony.

Twitter appreciation from tweeps during GOP debate on 1/26/12.

Tweets range from inane to insightful, from snarky insults to eloquently phrased questions or impassioned pleas. Anyone looking to get in on the action simply has to add the right hash-tagged phrase to his or her comment to be included in the thread. Keeping up with comments in the heat of the moment becomes nearly impossible, but one has only to go back to the thread when they have time and they can read up on what was said, follow links to related news stories, check the integrity of comments made by those on stage during the event or simply laugh at the more humorous tweets.

During the CNN Debate hosted by John King, opening comments made by Newt Gingrich blasting King for opening with a question about his personal life were widely ridiculed and reposted by active tweeters. While the audience seemed to appreciate his indignation, the twitterverse was not as kind.

1/19/12 CNN debate/ Begala tweet re: Gingrich

It is fairly common knowledge – at least among those familiar with the social medium – that the use of the Twitter platform was an advantage to the Obama camp during the 2008 election cycle: he received far more mentions than his opponent and a disproportionate number of Twitter users identified themselves as democrats. (This doesn’t take into account the number of tweets regarding Republican vice-presidential hopeful, Sarah Palin, who received a large amount of mentions – most of which were unfavorable.) But Twitter has gained significant numbers over the last four years and Republican politicians have increasingly taken to using the platform for their own messaging and organizational purposes. GOP presidential hopefuls employ staff members to follow the tweets during their appearances to find out which topics they are concerned with and which personality attributes or answers they prefer. There is, unquestionably, much to be learned from immediate feedback and they intend to take it to heart.

From the look of it, however, they’ve got a lot of catching up to do if they want to turn the advantage in their favor. During the President’s State of the Union address on Jan. 24, tweets were significantly less scathing and more topically relevant than those posted during the debates. Twitter users still seem to skew further to the left of the aisle than the general public.

Tweets re: GOP debate vs. SOTU

Nevertheless, Twitter has – if nothing else – had the effect of combating political apathy and has brought the public political debate to a whole new level. Those who are chagrined when barred from political discussion in social forums have now found an outlet through which they can share ideas, facts, emotions and hopes – in the hopes of staying informed, sharing information and influencing election outcomes, presidential or otherwise. A new era in politics has indeed arrived.

Welcome to Election 2012, the Year of Twitter.

Why Tumblr Will Overtake Facebook

written by: Amani Liggett

Tumblr dashboard

A Tumblr Dashboard


Facebook’s glory days are fading. Yes, it’s true. The giant of social media has gotten, well, crowded. Parents are on it, grandparents are on it, and employers use it to decide whether to hire someone.

For the rest of us, it’s time to find a new playground. Many have found this in Tumblr, a blogging and picture based social media website. Tumblr is much more informal, and one can be as secretive or as intimate as you may desire. There is no pressure here to add all of your family members, the kid from math class, or your dentist.

And unfortunately for Facebook, Tumblr is more fun. Users are rarely bombarded by ads, or asked to join groups or play any sort of Farmville-type games.

Members of the Tumblr community often poke fun at each other and themselves, which helps make the website feel nonthreatening. Users often lament their exaggerated bad habit of staying online all day and all night, making anyone who reads the post feel a little better about their own over-use of the computer. You stay up until 4am watching re-runs on Hulu too?

And of course, they make fun of Facebook, mainly for the previously mentioned reasons. Its too boring, too old, too frumpy, too packed-full of a million different things happening on the sidebar.

Tumblr is also full of rants on every topic available. Users write essay-length comments and responses on topics ranging from the seriousness of abortion to the silliness of different Hogwarts house characteristics. It certainly is a fun and easy way to find other fans of books, movies, and TV shows. Finding someone on Facebook who also happens to like Green Day, Shakespeare jokes, and Sherlock Holmes would be far more challenging than on Tumblr.

There is a sense of community on Tumblr that Facebook does not have and probably will never be able to attain at this point. Facebook got very big, very fast, so there is no sense of a unique space because everyone is already there. Tumblr is the new alternative.


That is the way of social media, for a while, Myspace was king, and then fell to Facebook, which itself is now going downhill. Facebook is clearly going to have to step-up its game to stay on top. With the uprising of Tumblr and other less-well-knowns, as well as dissenters complaining of Facebook’s frequent changes (the new Timeline feature is not going over well) and controversial privacy rules, the giant is in trouble.

Tumblr logo





Facebook Incorrectly Mimics Real Life


By:Liana Fahie

I never quite understood the entire appeal of online social networking. It always seemed to appeal to peoples’ vain side, often times promoting relentless self promotion. Some people swear by the notion that once we aren’t Facebook friends we’re no longer friends in real life. Ian Bogost presented some convincing arguments about the way structure of Facebook’s network and how it leads to a mesh of different relationship hierarchies that should be separated. The only current remedy for this is privacy settings that enable you to show select bits of information to certain people; but a finer granularity is needed now that the user base has exponentially grown and anyone is allowed to sign up. Professors are interacting with students, colleagues, family, and friends all at the same time and the politics involved in who can see aspects of your life not only about you but extending to others that you know is a tremendous balancing act.

The problem is that it lumps everyone that you know under a single category;the “friend,” whether you met this person at a party last night, went to elementary school with them, or you have known them pretty much your whole life. Today with the Internet and the explosion of smart phones, people are able to carry Facebook everywhere they go. This leads to the depersonalization of the relationships and interactions with people. For example, you can probably change your birthday to occur once every 3 months and people will tell you happy birthday every time. As they don’t remember when your birthday is, they just digest the information that the site is showing them.

Ian’s notion of a collapsed sense of time is accurate, as Facebook does not allow you to specify a time period on the relationships that you have. The example that he gave of a guy posting that he was engaged and receiving congratulations as if it just happened is very true and is similar to my birthday example from above. However this sense of time can play into the strategy that the owners of Facebook want. They want you to update your profile and status right away when things happen, as if your Facebook profile is an extension of your physical self. In this way updating Facebook and letting people know of important changes in your life, products you like, etc., contributes to their overarching goal of Facebook being your second life.

Features of the New Facebook Timeline

Written By: Jessica Mangiameli

While there are many mixed emotions toward the new Facebook Timeline feature, one thing is certain, everyone’s Facebook will soon be switched over to the new timeline whether one wants it or not.

It does take a while getting used to the new Facebook timeline which was launched on October 6, 2011.  Even if one hasn’t switched to the new timeline, they can still see the new timeline if their friends have it, which may scare and worry some Facebookers about what they’re getting themselves into.

The New Facebook Timeline

The New Facebook Timeline

The new design is laid out like an actual timeline with every year since the year you were born, displayed on the right hand side of the timeline.  One can click on any year and it will go back to that year on that person’s wall, bringing up previous posts from the past.  This feature worries many Facebookers because of old, embarrassing posts that might appear from when you were say, 16 years old. Some Facebookers say it is taking away any sort of privacy control there was for Facebook and ideally makes it easier for friends and family to “creep” through Facebook.

A new feature that some Facebookers like is the new cover photo displayed at the top of the timeline. It’s almost like a banner.  Facebookers can display their favorite pictures or a cool pattern or design that they found online as their cover photo.

If you’re ready for change and want to switch to the new timeline on Facebook it is very simple. Visit the facebook timeline page at and click the “Get Timeline” link located at the bottom of the page.

Once a user decides they want the timeline, there is a seven day review period in which the user can edit their timeline and set it up the way they want before it goes public. During this seven day period, a user is able to launch their timeline so it goes live at any point. If the user waits, it will automatically go public in one week.

While this new change may have some users concerned, Facebook will always contain privacy settings where a user can set an option to “Only Me” meaning that you’re the only one who can see that specific content.

A lot of Facebookers really enjoy the new timeline and its organization. Facebook has come a long way since its debut in 2004. It’s mind boggling to try and think of what Mark Zuckerberg is going to change next.


Facebook’s Timeline Dissappoints

Written by: Michael Arnold

In late September of 2011, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the website’s most significant change since its inception – the Timeline. In a press release Zuckerberg defined Facebook’s new layout as “the story of your life, and it has three pieces, all your stories, all your apps, in a new way to express who you are.”

Sounds intriguing. However, Facebook’s new layout has received some terrible reviews by users. On a Mashable Social Media Poll posted in mid-December, roughly half of the 3,000 Facebook users polled expressed their discontentment with the Timeline. Many users are resisting the change from the original profile all together after seeing the confusing and cumbersome Timeline page.

So what’s with all of the feet dragging?

The Los Angeles Times likens the Timeline to “an obsessive compulsive’s digital scrapbook, collecting every detail, no matter how trivial, in chronological order.” Sound creepy? That’s because it is.

Timeline tracks your “birth” – or rather your first time using Facebook – to the present moment. It incessantly surfaces photos, likes, tags, places you’ve been and notes to effectively capture  the essence of any given Facebook user on one page.

Zuckerberg’s move to Timeline drifts from the website’s initial purpose: to help people connect and share with the people in their lives. Instead, the focus of Facebook will become the chronological “life story” of the person whose page it is.

Not only are Timeline pages revealing more about people’s pasts, they’re promoting constant moment-by-moment updates every day. Facebook’s new partnerships with Spotify and Hulu have already begun allowing users to bombard news feeds with interminable and automatic updates on songs that they’re listening to and shows that they’re watching.  Clearly this change is much less about communication, and more about voyeurism.

Timeline makes it easier than ever to get complete access to a person’s photos and interests. And with the page’s built-in archive, it is simple and easy to see what a person was doing at any particular point in her life on Facebook.

Since the change took effect Facebook has been encouraging users, in a multitude of ways, to add more information to their profile’s. Zuckerberg has not shied away from this. In fact, upon unveiling the Timeline at Facebook’s F8 Conference, he concluded that “life’s biggest moments” should be made more public since this is the overall purpose of the new layout.

Perhaps Facebook’s dramatic changes will deter some of its 800 million members from using the site as often. As this is unlikely, Facebook users should prepare to get to know a whole lot more about their “friends” in the coming months.

Facebook Logo

The Facebook logo

What Does Facebook Timeline Mean for Facebook Stalking?

Facebook Timeline includes new customization features.

Facebook Timelines offers a new look-- and possibly less privacy.


Written by: Vanessa Formato


We’ve all done it: one minute, we’re looking at an acquaintance’s Facebook status, the next we’ve perused 500 photographs of said acquaintance dating back to the early 2000s. “Facebook stalking”—secretly viewing large amounts of a person’s online profile—is relatively common in this age of connectivity, but that isn’t to say it’s exactly desirable. With some major changes coming to Facebook in the form of Timeline, the biggest question on users’ minds may be how the new layout will effect stalking—and with good reason.

Facebook Timeline is a new kind of profile that not only displays personal information and mementos, but displays nearly all types of updates—from status to photographs to “likes”— chronologically on users’ main profiles. The idea is to create a profile that will allow you to “tell your life story” according to Timeline’s Facebook page.

As Sarah Love wrote for March Communications, Timeline is “complete repositioning of the purpose of Facebook,” which may be the most significant aspect of the change that could manage to fly under the radar at first. Love, like many users, starting using Facebook as a method to connect with her peers, but with Timeline the focus is shifted away from connection to observation: it turns profiles into “scrapbook[s],” more suited to online stalking than ever before.

The traditional Facebook set-up required potential stalkers to work for their information: photos and certain updates were hidden in separate tabs, but Timeline sets everything out in the open. One can click to view updates from certain time periods (even one labeled “born”) as well as access important “life events” and personal information with unprecedented ease, and this is what has some users concerned.

All things considered, Timeline so far seems almost less invasive than some of the other features Facebook rolled out late in 2011. The live news ticker that now appears on the homepage shows activity between one’s friends and non-mutual friends with surprising thoroughness. Couple the ability to see complete strangers’ activities at any time with the new profile set-up and you have a stage set perfectly for invading others’ privacy.

Thankfully, Timeline does include potential solutions to the Facebook stalking problem, the most important of which may be that it allows users to sift through their profiles before they go live. Currently, users are given seven days to edit their Timeline—more than enough time to delete drunken status updates or unflattering duck-faced photos from high school. Plus, privacy settings can always be altered to keep strangers and co-workers from knowing too much.

Timeline is a lesson in managing one’s online presence: will users be willing to take the time and suffer the potential embarrassment of engaging in enough navel-gazing to make their Timelines secure? Only time will tell.


BlogSwarm: The Power of Social Media to Raise Awareness

Can you feel the rumble moving across the Net? Is it a server malfunction? The train outside your tiny apartment? No, it’s a band of bloggers swarming across the Sphere, bringing truth and justice to the top ranks of your google search! The now widely used Blogswarm is another tool used in social media to raise awareness of important news and issues.

But what is a blogswarm, and how does it work? A blogswarm happens when groups of bloggers, out of urgent need or pre-arranged agreement, all write posts about the same issue and urge others to write.  Recently we had a  ‘swarm where bloggers encouraged people to contact their representatives and ask them to vote yes on the Employment Nondiscrimination Act.  That was motivated by situational need. In other cases, a specific day of the year will come around, and folks will agree to write posts on a topic that’s close to their hearts. For example, May 1st was Blog Against Disablism Day, where people write about disability issues.  It’s been going on since 2006.

Do BlogSwarms really help? Yes. And just as important, they’re a ton of fun! You get to join together with others across the blogosphere, and for one day everyone has the same goal: get more people to care/understand/do something about X, Y, or Z. There’s also alot of freedom in it, because everyone crafts their own message, as long as the end result is the same. A ‘swarm is a great way to reach down into the pool of information we all wade through, pull one thing out, and let the Net World know that a lot of people think this is worth knowing about.

Try it for yourself! There’s plenty of ‘swarms out there waiting for another blogger to join the pack. Or set up your own swarm day! Choose a date and topic, post about it, send links out to other bloggers, and let the word fly! A blogswarm is one more tool we have for keeping folks connected to what’s going on around them.

a swarm moving over a sunset                                 kitten inside empty computer screen words are im in your internet cloggin your tubes!

Creating Groups With Facebook!

Facebook is a wonderful tool for keeping track of your friends and family. It can also be helpful in developing professional and social contacts. But did you know that Facebook makes it easy to create and manage groups?

Folks manage groups on FB for all kinds of reasons, from social to political to work-related. Being a group administrator is not a difficult task, and the time committment depends on the level of  involvement you decide on. Here’s how you create a group:

1) On the left side of your homepage, find the link that says “Groups” and click on it.

2) On your groups page, you’ll see a grey box that says “Create a Group”. Click that box!

3) Now you should be on a page that asks for your group information. Fill in as much as you want to. The big decision is whether you want the group to be available to everyone on Facebook, or only people in your local network. Facebook Group Page

4) Once you’ve filled in all the blanks, click the “Create Group” button at the bottom of the screen.

5) This next page is about security and access options. Now is the time to figure out how much approval people will need to access your group. FB Security page

6) After you save that, Facebook will take you to the Invites page. Congratulations! You’re ready to invite your friends to join your group and let the fun (or work) begin!

The best part? If at any point you feel overwhelmed and need to stop being administrator of the group, just tell Facebook. FB will pick a new administrator  from among your group members. You can walk away without worrying about your group dying!

Human Resources Professionals Use Social Media To Seek Out Candidates

Human Resources

Human Resources

Social media can be used by Human Resources professionals to increase the quality of candidates and to stretch out further in to the available community of workers. While sites like LinkedIn naturally gravitate towards hiring and job searching, other sites also offer possibilities to increasing H.R. effectiveness.

Sites can be used to search for potential candidates and to screen candidates before investing time in phone calls and interviews. Additionally, communities can be formed on sites like Facebook. These communities would promote deeper relationships, thereby increasing the candidacy of hire potential. This would also weed out potential employees who simply want a job, and may not be necessarily passionate about a specific company’s mission or brand. By pulling from a community of individuals who have added themselves to that group, it can be nearly guaranteed that they have a purpose for adding and wishing to be a part of the community.
While recruiters are often simply too busy to create relationships with candidates, social media makes it easier and more effective for them to do this. It has been said that finding candidates through this vein, via connections made on social media sites, the workplace then becomes a more connected unit, as candidates and hiring managers and recruiters are already familiar with each other via social media sites and groups.