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Research: Over Half of American Businesses Experienced LinkedIn Scams This Year

Cybersecurity expert advises businesses on how to avoid LinkedIn scammers and swindlers.

Note: TDWI’s editors carefully choose press releases related to the data and analytics industry. We have edited and/or condensed this release to highlight key information but make no claims as to its accuracy.

Over half of businesses in the U.S. (52%) experienced at least one LinkedIn scam this year, according to the newest research by NordLayer, a network security solution for businesses. The most affected tend to be big companies (65%); requests to connect from an unknown person with a suspicious link in the message is the most popular scam they encounter (47%); and damaged reputation (48%) was the leading outcome of LinkedIn scams.

“Like in every social media platform, attackers and scammers seek information and money or to ruin reputations. We know that employees are considered the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain, and LinkedIn has millions of professional accounts, making it an even more appealing target for scammers. No one should let their guard down, no matter how professional a message might look,” says Carlos Salas, a cybersecurity expert at NordLayer.

Attacks Vary by Company Size

According to the research, 65% of big U.S. companies have been contacted by a scam/fake account on LinkedIn at least once. Furthermore, 58% of midsize and 31% of small companies have been contacted at least once.

Salas says, “Cyberattacks are a major threat to businesses of all sizes. However, big companies are often the most targeted due to their data and value. They also have larger networks and databases, making them vulnerable to attack if their security measures are not up to par. Hackers will often focus their efforts on these targets to maximize their rewards.”

Most Common LinkedIn Scams and Employees’ Responses

Data revealed that a request to connect from an unknown person with a suspicious link in the message (47%) is the prevailing LinkedIn scam among American businesses. Moreover, they also experience active phishing attempts (46%), fake job offers (41%), and fake tech support (38%).

Surprisingly, almost half of U.S. companies (43%) are also aware of a scam on LinkedIn using their organization's brand name. This type of scam was the most prevalent among big companies (53%), but was also common among smaller ones: 53% of these businesses indicated that this type of scam also happened to them. Only small companies noted that they almost never experience such scams (13%).

Research also shows that the most popular employee action against these scams in the U.S. was to contact the LinkedIn administration (69%). Employees were also eager to inform the leadership of their organization (66%) as well as publish a post on LinkedIn about the scammers (45%).

Damaged Reputation Leading Outcome for Large Enterprises

As the leading outcome of LinkedIn scams, big companies named damaged reputation (48%) as well as stolen/damaged data and high financial loss (40% each). Medium enterprises were hurt the most by damaged reputation (47%) and stolen/damaged client contacts (45%). Lastly, small companies that experienced any kind of scam indicated that financial loss (67%) as well as interruption to operations and stolen intellectual property (58% each) were the most common damage.

“One of the best ways to protect your business from LinkedIn scams is to educate your employees about the types of scams that exist and how to recognize them. Also, encourage your employees to use two-factor authentication (2FA) on their LinkedIn accounts as well as verify requests for information.

“Finally, regularly monitor the activity on your business's LinkedIn account. Look for any suspicious activity, such as unauthorized logins or changes to account information. If you notice signs that your business has been targeted by a LinkedIn scam, report the activity to LinkedIn immediately and take steps to secure your accounts and data,” says Salas.

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