As the Twitter issue approaches Chancery and public opinion, another social media company is being forced to deal with scams that pose a far greater risk to users.
LinkedIn has become the latest target of unauthentic accounts, with perpetrators posing even greater challenges because customers expect more from Microsoft''s business networking site than they do from Elon Musk''s short-message service.
Scams aren''t unique to LinkedIn, so Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and basically the entire internet have been platforms for nefarious actors for years, from variations on the Nigerian Prince fraud to phishing attacks.
Yet recent LinkedIn campaigns have gotten quite close to repurposing real people with the help of one of the most powerful websites on the internet.
ThisPersonDoesNotExist.com creates headshots using artificial intelligence that includes jewelry and a breathtaking backdrop. It is equally effective and allows anyone to create a deep-fake persona that passes as the real thing. You also may become Victor Sites, the Chief Information Security Officer at Chevron.
Hundreds of times over. Brian Krebs, a well-known author and cybersecurity researcher, discovered the site''s profile and cross-checked it against Chevron''s real identity. Adding the fact that a Google search for that role presents the fake profile alongside the real one. There are countless similar phonies on the site.
The reason behind the problem is the confounding aspect.
Earlier this year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation warned that one goal is to lure individuals into fraudulent cryptocurrency investment schemes by gaining trust before taking the victim''s money. Researchers at Mandiant. found evidence that north Korean hackers used such profiles to land remote jobs inside cryptocurrency companies. These positions might then provide them with information and capabilities that could help money laundering and handling of unlawful funds, according to Bloomberg News.
dummy accounts have been deployed to broaden a net as companies seek to hire applicants. Those who take the bait then receive access to human resources. This is why, according to NPR''s Shannon Bond, telemarketing is a form of communication that may be used to lure victims. There are also many more fake profiles for whom goals and motives aren''t immediately obvious.
LinkedIn''s reputation as being the social network for serious professionals makes it the perfect platform for lulling members into a false sense of security. Although Musk is using bots as an excuse to wiggle out of his purchase agreement, there''s no evidence to suggest that the rate on LinkedIn is substantially lower.
According to Insider Intelligence last year, consumers prefer to use it more heavily. Both Facebook and Twitter were among the worst in surveys that assessed perceptions of deceptive content and protection of privacy. That heightened professionalism goes a long way toward explaining LinkedIn''s user and revenue growth.
LinkedIn now accounts for twice the sales and has narrowed the gap in revenue per user. Its 850 million members is almost four times the of Twitter''s 238 million.
The vast amount of information that LinkedIn collects and publishes, which drives its entire business model, but which lacks any robust verification mechanisms, is exacerbating the security threat. A Twitter user, by contrast, can gain a substantial following while still remaining anonymous.
In a recent post, Krebs said, there are two simple steps LinkedIn might take to improve its platform. First, add a created on date, which Twitter already deploys, to highlight which profiles are recent versus long-established. A second, more powerful, feature would be to verify domain credentials at the organization where they claim to be employed.
"We work every day to keep our members safe, with automated systems combined with experts to eliminate the vast majority of fake accounts before they appear in our community," Oscar Rodriguez, LinkedIn''s senior director of trust, privacy, and equity, wrote in an e-mail reply to Bloomberg Opinion. We also request members to disclose suspicious profiles and content to us so that we may take action.
The company declined to say if it is considering adding a creation date or domain verification or if it intends to make any modifications in the last months to address the growing number of deep-fake profiles.
LinkedIn has the potential to learn from their competitors'' mistakes, but it must take action quickly before the situation comes to an end.