LinkedIn files lawsuit to stop unknown group from using bots to steal profile data

By on January 8, 2014, 5:30 PM
linkedin, lawsuit, hacking, theft, bots, user data, profile data

LinkedIn has filed a lawsuit aimed at stopping competitors from using bots to collect information from hundreds of thousands of user profiles. The company wants the group of “John Does” to stop the activity and make them pay for violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Site representatives claim a group of unknown people are using bots to create thousands of fake user profiles that are then used to interact with real LinkedIn users. Once a connection has been made, the bots siphon off as much data about each member as possible.

The mined data is then being used by competitors as a recruiting product according to the complaint filed in San Francisco this week. LinkedIn said they’ve had to expend a great deal of energy and manpower to combat the fake profiles. What’s more, the bots are putting the company’s integrity and reputation on the line.

As Gigaom points out, it’s unclear really if LinkedIn has a solid leg to stand on since it isn’t exactly illegal to copy information from a website. In addition to the aforementioned laws, the company also says the unknown users are violating their own terms of service.

To get to the bottom of who is scraping their servers, LinkedIn said they will issue discovery orders to Amazon Web Services. It’s this service that the defendants are using to create and store data related to the fake user accounts, the company said.




User Comments: 8

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1 person liked this | Whosteell Whosteell said:

Oh, this is karma. The company that covertly downloads your entire address book from Gmail (or Outlook) when you sign up, and the relentlessly impersonates you by sending weekly emails to EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOUR CONTACTS telling them YOU want them to join LinkedIn... They're suing hackers?

Their website is nothing short of malicious, relationship-straining, malware. Their business motto thrives on deception and spamming. To be quite honest, I'm surprised they have not been sued out of existence for what they do on a daily basis.

psycros psycros said:

Oh, this is karma. The company that covertly downloads your entire address book from Gmail (or Outlook) when you sign up, and the relentlessly impersonates you by sending weekly emails to EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOUR CONTACTS telling them YOU want them to join LinkedIn... They're suing hackers?

Their website is nothing short of malicious, relationship-straining, malware. Their business motto thrives on deception and spamming. To be quite honest, I'm surprised they have not been sued out of existence for what they do on a daily basis.

I know, it takes comic irony to a new level. If their going to be suing people for being smarter criminals than themselves shouldn't they start with Google, the biggest data thief of them all? LOL, death to all web spyware companies.

1 person liked this | dennis777 dennis777 said:

Lol their user creation of their website is weak if a bot could do this in the first place.

JC713 JC713 said:

Hahaha wow LinkedIn.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

As Gigaom points out, it's unclear really if LinkedIn has a solid leg to stand on since it isn't exactly illegal to copy information from a website.

er, what?

guess this author has not heard of the DMCA before

1 person liked this | Capaill said:

How can you sue an unknown person?

It sounds more like they are suing Amazon -- good luck with that.

Like the first poster, I also got burned by LinkedIn so I have no sympathy for them.

Guest said:

Nope, don't feel sorry for Linkedin, or their foolish, desperate, mostly egotistical clientele. It's their decision to pay attorneys rather than programmers.

Guest said:

It has been going on for many, many years.

Why do you think some people are so poor in their understanding of things, because they are not people who speak your language but Bots that send out an occasional 'help me' to their owners when the BotScript fails.

Won't say which extremely large Sites have (had) this trouble but some Sites have (recently / not) said they are working on it (and you will see your Follows / Subs, disappear in Bulk on 'Cleaning Days').

So, like your mommy told you (or failed to tell you) don't post it if you don't want anyone to know -- did you really think no one could see whatever. Who are you posting Stuff for, yourself.

IF it is "Private Cloud Storage" (just for yourself) then make sure you:

1. Don't use Wireless.

2. Use https

3. Update your Certs.

4. Use Sites with either better Security or ones not worth the bother (and Hosted at a decent place).

5. Share (or store) as little as possible.

6. Obtain Common Sense, apply liberally (as you used to Post).

7. Expect you will be sharing it with someone, someday. (What if your Computer is stolen).

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