Seattle Space Needle Reflection at Night

The Ruthless Victimization of LinkedIn

Stinked In

LinkedIn would like you to know something.

This isn’t easy for them to talk about, you see, but a few years ago, they were victimized. Oh, it was awful, it was, and LinkedIn is still suffering.

How were they victimized?

Well, you see, after they used every less-than-honest trick in the book to procure your private information, they turned around and stored that private information in an insecure manner, which in turn caused your data to be stolen, and then sold on the black market.

MY GOD CAN THIS COMPANY EVER GET A BREAK??!!! SOMEBODY THINK OF LINKEDIN! WON’T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF LINKEDIN?!

Why, I ask you … WHY is the world such a cruel, hostile place to them?  I mean, they, let’s say “obtained”, that personal info fair and square.  They typed up a 20,000-word “agreement”, one which liberally linked to other 20,000-word agreements, and after presenting you with all of this information for 2 seconds, they permitted you to click “I Agree”.

Yes, they had a good-faith reason to believe you read and understood that information, thus fulfilling the requirement for valid contract formation, why do you ask?  Some people read really fast, and LinkedIn has no idea when extreme speed readers sign up for new accounts.  What?  Well they don’t.

LinkedIn has absolutely no obligation to negotiate contract terms in good-faith and in a reasonable manner.

Wait, what? What do you mean “yes they do”? What do you mean “it’s the cornerstone of contract law”? Who asked you, anyway? What’s say you take your socialist notions of “fairness” back to whatever third-world socialist slum you came from? Yeah, I hear Norway is nice this time of year, if you like the sound of starving people being crushed by under the weight of their dictator’s tanks. Oh listen, it sounds a little like the first bar of “Jive Talkin'” by the BeeGees. Why that’s not so bad after all. I take it all back, then.

Anyway, so your personal information has been stolen and sold on the black market. Who’s the victim?

Why, LinkedIn is, of course.

Oh, don’t take my word for it. No no.  Take their word for it (although the emphasis is mine all mine):

In 2012, LinkedIn was the victim of an unauthorised access and disclosure of some members’ passwords. At the time, our immediate response included a mandatory password reset for all accounts we believed were compromised as a result of the unauthorised disclosure. Additionally, we advised all members of LinkedIn to change their passwords as a matter of best practice. (huh?)

Yesterday (it’s June of 2016), we became aware of an additional set of data that had just been released that claims to be email and hashed password combinations of more than 100 million LinkedIn members from that same theft in 2012. (it only took us 4 years to figure it out) We are taking immediate (because 4 years + 1 day is unaccaptable) steps to invalidate the passwords of the accounts impacted, and we will contact those members to reset their passwords. (hey, better 4 years late than never) We have no indication that this is as a result of a new security breach. (this is encouraging, because it only took us 4 years to figure out that it had even happened)

We take the safety and security of our members’ accounts seriously. (Eh, why not? You can’t be prosecuted for making subjective statements, no matter how absurd. Did we mention that we love you like our own sons and daughters? Cause it’s true. Completely and 100% true) For several years, we have hashed and salted every password in our database, and we have offered protection tools such as email challenges and dual factor authentication. (What does this have to do with millions of accounts being compromised at once? Nothing, but we’d really appreciate it if you blame yourselves. Please?) We encourage our members to visit our safety center to learn about enabling two-step verification, and to use strong passwords in order to keep their accounts as safe as possible. (we tried to keep you safe, and did everything we could, but in the end, you just flat-out failed)

P.S. Despite our disappointment in your inability to care for yourselves, we love you. That’s why we carried you in our womb for 9 months despite everyone’s advice that we terminate the pregnancy.

Did you get all that?

Apparently, some members not using dual-factor authentication allowed hackers to siphon millions of LinkedIn accounts in one fell swoop.  Although, it’s very possible that they would have been taken even if every user used every security tool available to them.  After all, two-factor authentication only works when hackers target specific accounts, not millions of accounts at once.  It’s entirely possible that all of LinkedIn’s talk of email challenges and privacy tools, are completely irrelevant to the issue at hand.  It’s possible that this is all smoke and mirrors designed to blame the customer for LinkedIn’s failure.

And by “possible”, I mean “probable”.

That said, for all of you who may be whining that it was your information that was stolen, and thus you are the ones who have been harmed, I ask you to stop being selfish for two seconds and think of the real victims here. I ask you to think of the poor corporations who time and again aggressively collect your information only to turn around and have it taken away by people who would like nothing more than to do you harm.

I ask you to think of the companies which have to maintain a steady stream of … what are we calling them now? … “donations”? … really? … you’re kidding right? … *sigh* … fine … which have to maintain a steady stream of, ugh, DONATIONS to legislators, thus paying handsomely for the rights to be able to ignore decades of well-established contract law in order to pilfer your personal information.

Think of them, won’t you?

Oh, and do the anonymous thieves who stole your information from LinkedIn have to pay “donations” to Congress on a recurring basis?

No, they don’t.

So, in addition to LinkedIn, public officials are also the victims here. After all, they depend on these “donations” for their very livelihood. They don’t get paychecks like you or I get, they get much larger paychec, I mean, hey by any chance did you see American Idol last night? No? HOW ‘BOUT THEM SEAHAWKS?! C’mon, say it with me … 12th Man! … 12th Man! Yeah, you like that, don’t you? 12th Man! 12th Man!

Anyway, where was I?

Oh yeah … sure, you may be upset that your information has been compromised, but how do you think they feel? LinkedIn, lawmakers, and just all around incredibly wealthy people. Do you ever think about how they feel about all of this?

No? Well, you’re doing so now, and that was the whole point of this little exercise.

In conclusion, I trust we’ve all learned something here today.  I trust we’ve learned the most important thing of all.  No matter where you go or what you do, I hope you remember this one, simple thing.

LinkedIn loves you, and they take seriously, so very very seriously, the safety and security of your personal information.

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