LinkedIn Intro – Security Concerns

Posted on October 28, 2013. Filed under: linkedin advice, News, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Following on from my last blog introducing this new app, it would appear that various security concerns have been raised so I thought I would share my thoughts on this matter.

In my opinion the internet is full scaremongers and security obsessed people who seem to be able to find fault with just about every new idea/product/advancement. I happen to know that Matt Alder is not one of them so when Matt raised security concerns in the comments of my last blog, I took it very seriously.

Matt’s concerns were based on an excellent article by a very credible organisation called Bishop Fox which I strongly suggest you read.

Unusually for LinkedIn they responded to this article by issuing a statement on their blog which I also strongly suggest you read. This is very unusual for LinkedIn, in my experience they tend to keep quiet about negative comments from others regarding LinkedIn – unless they feel very strongly about it.

I must admit that some of the language they both use is ‘over my head’ but my thoughts on the issue are as follows;

  • I am not too concerned about email going through LinkedIn’s servers, I am using Gmail after all which is clearly going through Google’s servers so why should I trust LinkedIn any less than Google?
  • To use Intro you actually create a new Mail account within the mail app, this can easily be switched off. There appears to be no other reconfiguring of my iPhone going on but maybe this is hidden from me.
  • I did have to give LinkedIn my pin to set up Intro, I’m really not sure why this was necessary and that does cause me some concern but LinkedIn strongly refute the allegation that they change the iPhone’s security preferences.
  • Bishop Fox are internet security consultants. It is in their commercial interests to write about such issues.
  • LinkedIn would benefit from collecting data about us – such as who we are communicating with via email.

I have therefore decided to continue using LinkedIn Intro (which is after all, very useful!) but only on a limited basis as follows;

  • The new Intro account is kept live in the Mail app on my iPhone but I do not use it actively and never send any emails from this account.
  • My primary app for email is the excellent Mailbox app which I have been using for some time because it has better features than the native Mail app in my opinion.
  • When I receive an email from an unknown source I simply switch over to the LinkedIn Intro account on the Mail app and check the very useful profile information of the sender.

I know its not exactly how you are supposed to use LinkedIn Intro but given all the issues, it feels safer to use it purely as a reference aid rather then as my main Mail app.

I am not suggesting you do the same, my only advice is to make sure you read both articles and make up your own mind.

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4 Responses to “LinkedIn Intro – Security Concerns”

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I must confess I read the article about the security and then went ahead with removing the app. I take your point about Google and privacy, but in my opinion (and it is only mine), my fear over the LinkedIn email re-direct is a little different.
LinkedIn are currently in court in the USA for allegedly ‘spamming’ people’s contacts on LinkedIn and trying to get them to sign up to LinkedIn. What are we giving LinkedIn (and consider the majority will probably be recruiters) via the Intro app emails – clients recruiting and candidates wanting jobs (and their email addresses). What are the two target audiences for LinkedIn to make money?

Of course this might just be nothing………..

But with the right semantic technology (that already exists) picking up the right words in these emails (going through their servers), maybe the LinkedIn sales teams will start to get a few more sales leads arriving in their internal inboxes over the next few months! They could just have nailed recruitment market intelligence!!

[This is just my opinion, and my conspiracy theory brain working overtime. It may be nothing and actually be just an awesome app, and an extension of LinkedIn’s great range of services. Just think about it first, Like Mark has above.]

Thanks Andy, great contribution as always. I expect that recruiters will be a very small (single digit) percentage of users of Intro (as they are of LinkedIn) but that doesn’t nullify your point about the words used in their emails being of use to LinkedIn and recruitment is LinkedIn’s most important revenue stream. That said it is also very valuable to know what we are communicating about and who too – this helps build accurate personal profiles that can be used for advertising and marketing purposes (LinkedIn’s 2nd revenue stream) but as I say, if anyone is going to do this its likely to be Google!

[…] information with companies like LinkedIn. As “Mr. LinkedIn” Mark Williams pointed out in this post, it may simply require a shift in how you use Intro to avoid some of the most prevalent security […]

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