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.

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.

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.


Occupy 2012? Will OWS make a Comeback in the New Year?

Written by: Tamar Auber

On December 31, 2012, six weeks after a twilight raid ousted the OWS protestors from Zuccotti Park in New York City, Occupy Wall Street was planning their own midnight attack. As millions tuned in and crowded into Times Square to watch the ball drop, a small plucky advance took back their erstwhile home, Zuccotti Park, resulting in approximately 68 arrests in the first hours of the New Year. A swift show of police force quickly reclaimed the park and emptied it of protestors. However, the unexpected raid leaves many wondering, is the Occupy Movement set to make a comeback in 2012?

Few can dispute that the last few months have taken a toll on the Occupy movement. On November 15 2011, Occupy Wall Street lost its nerve center when it was cast from Zuccotti Park where it camped day and night for nearly three months. Three days later, occupiers in Dallas were kicked out of the park they called home, followed by the dismantling of Occupy Washington DCon December 5th and other encampments nationwide. The loss of a home and protest space appeared, at least the surface, to be a deathblow to the Occupy movement whose acephalous structure demands that persons be gathered for decisions, based on consensus, to be made.

Occupy Protesters in Crowd

Will the Occupy Movement make a comeback in 2012?

Yet, on November 17th, the homeless Occupy Wall Street movement managed to drum up thousands of supporters for an anniversary march on Wall Street. After the loss of the Philadelphia tent city, the Philly group voted to continue meeting, and were reported in a December 30th  Huffington Post blog  as “alive and well.” Then there was the Occupy Onward conference on December 18th, which met at the New School, “to discuss the current crisis and what the Occupy Wall Street and the rest of us can do about it.” Unlikely to be the final breaths of a dying group, these events and meetings appear to be breathing new life into a wounded, but still very much viable worldwide movement.

No doubt, the Occupy movement is being aided by social media and a readily available internet to virtually connect members and keep them informed. Yet, another force seems to be feeding the groups re-birth. Despite promises of a brighter future, unemployment is still high and the economic outlook remains bleak. This national discontentment, felt strongly among young persons, provides the perfect fuel for the Occupy movement to take fire in 2012.

As the Occupy Wall Street demonstrated in the first hours of 2012, the new year will likely bring more news of Occupy protests and events worldwide, as the hobbled OWS movement and others worldwide reorganize and strategize on new ways to get their message heard loud and clear in the new year.

Google’s YouTube Connects To Facebook With Leanback

YouTube Leanback will soon offers its videos to television

YouTube, which is a part of the Google Empire, has just released an exciting new service called Leanback. Viewers will be able to live stream programs on YouTube right to their television sets and connect and share watch they are watching with their Facebook friends.

Leanback is still in its infancy as a beta version and only functions with a computer right now. Google has high hopes that the new service will be as prolific as Facebook. This is just one more way the company is breaking into social media, in addition to Google Buzz and rumored Google Me.

In order to get started, you need to be registered with YouTube and login.  Unlike a computer, you will not need a mouse to navigate the channels.  All of this is done through the arrows on a standard keyboard and the enter or return key.  Similar to a dvr, you can pause and play the video that is being viewed.

YouTube will also be offering a paid rental service that can be customized. Videos that are on the website already will remain free. Leanback not only gives people a greater choice of programming, but also allows full control of what to watch.  The connection to Facebook should also give this new service a big boost in popularity.

Google Me Could Take On Facebook

Google Me is rumored to be the a direct competitor of Facebook

The rumors could be true.  Google Me is supposedly the latest project being hammered out by a large staff of tech elves soon to be in direct competition with Facebook, the largest and most popular social media website today.

Lately Google has been pumping up Google Buzz, adding new apps and allowing users to be more easily connected.  Google Me, however; could take their venture into the social media world a lot further.

There will be a few things for Google to overcome if it wants to be a large competitor of Facebook, which currently has 450 million users and growing.  It is thriving far more than MySpace, and the interface is user friendly and well connected to other social network sites like Twitter and Digg.

The new information about Google Me originated from Adam D’Angelo, a former Facebook CTO and owner of the website, Quora.  D’Angelo seems confident in his predictions, but Google is still keeping it under wraps for the most part.

Google Me, if it is true, would add healthy competition to the social media landscape, which has been so saturated that only a few remain on top like Facebook and Twitter.  Google has had great success with its other online ventures that it will be interesting to watch as the company ventures further out into the social media arena.

Social Media Survey Microsoft’s Employees Are Biggest Users



It doesn’t take a genius to realize that employees are on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. It has become increasingly apparent that banning usage of these sites might not be simply futile, but may also be a lost marketing and networking opportunity.  NetProspex, a sales and marketing contact database, conducted a survey of corporations and ranked the top 50 for social media involvement. Microsoft’s employees ranked the highest for social media involvement.

“This report shows that in today’s business environment, employees throughout many of the country’s largest corporations are using social networks, ” said NetProspex CEO Gary Halliwell. “This presents a new opportunity for sales and marketing prospecting and lead generation, as strategies adapt to encompass the landscape of social networks.”
The companies with the highest percentage of social media users were, no surprise, technology and software companies such as Google, Apple and was graced by online retailers such as Amazon and eBay.  and  even Walt Disney Corp.
The timing of the survey publication is quite beneficial to Microsoft, who recently launched two phones, the Kin One and the Kin Two, which are specifically created to easily navigate social media sites.

Facebook Re-Opens Safety Center To Protect Children

Facebook Safety

Facebook Safety

Facebook is taking steps to protect the safety of children. On Tuesday, it opened its newly redesigned Safety Center, which is a collaborative effort between Facebook and its Safety Advisory Board. The board, assembled four months ago, consists of these independent, global groups: Common Sense Media, ConnectSafely, WiredSafety, Childnet International and The Family Online Safety Institute.

“Safety is Facebook’s top priority,” said Facebook Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan. “We’ve quadrupled the safety content available and we’ve created cleaner, more navigable interfaces to help you find answers to safety questions fast.”

After a frightening turn of events in Great Britain, where Facebook is accused as being complicit in a child abduction and murder case, the social media site has taken serious steps to address safety concerns. While Facebook has not acquiesed to every suggestion given by Britain’s authorities, it has created structures it hopes will not only waylay further abuse, but promote education, awareness and conversation on the part of children and their parents.

Facebook offers a Security page, with tips and information on avoiding hackers and scams, but the Safety Center is a more interactive effort which goes to greater lengths to protect users, namely children.

In the ever-changing world of social media, Facebook stands as the most popular site for users, and as such, bears the brunt of taking security further than its counterparts.