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LinkedIn Privacy and Security Tips

Learn how to stay safe on the social network for professionals

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LinkedIn Privacy and Security Tips
Photo: Multi-bits / Getty

You may post hundreds of adorable cat videos on Facebook but when you surf over to LinkedIn, you try and keep things professional. LinkedIn can be a great place to network with others in your career field and reconnect with some of your favorite former co-workers.

As with any social network site, there are privacy and security issues with LinkedIn. You typically reveal a lot more personal information in your LinkedIn profile than you would in your Facebook profile. Your LinkedIn profile is more like a digital resume where you can showcase your talents, share information such as where you've worked, where you've gone to school, and what projects you've worked on throughout your career. The problem is that some of the information in your LinkedIn profile might be dangerous in the wrong hands.

Let's take a look at some things you can do to make your LinkedIn experience a safer one, while still putting yourself out there for potential employers.

Change Your LinkedIn Password NOW!

LinkedIn recently had a password breach that affected around 6.5 million users. Even if you are not one of the affected accounts, you should strongly consider changing your LinkedIn password. If you haven't logged into LinkedIn in awhile, the site may force you to change your password the next time you log in due to the security breach.

To change your LinkedIn password:

1. Click on the triangle next to your name in the top-right corner of the LinkedIn site after you've logged in.

2. Choose the 'settings' menu and click 'password change'.

Consider Limiting the Contact Information You Share in Your Profile

Business relationships can be somewhat less personal than those you have on Facebook. You may be more open to letting people into your business social network than you would your Facebook network because you want to meet new business contacts that could help you in your career. This is great, except that you might not want all of these people having your phone number and home address. What if one of your new contacts turns out to be a creepy stalker?

Given the reason above, you may want to remove some of your personal contact information from your LinkedIn profile such as your phone numbers and your home address.

To remove your contact info from your LinkedIn public profile:

1. Click on the 'Edit Profile' link from the 'Profile' menu at the top of your LinkedIn home page.

2. Scroll down to the 'Personal Information' area and click the 'Edit' button and select your phone number, address, or whatever other contact information you would like to remove.

Turn on LinkedIn's Secure Browsing Mode

LinkedIn offers a secure browsing via HTTPS option that is a must-use feature, especially if you use LinkedIn from coffee shops, airports, or anywhere else with public Wi-Fi hotspots that eavesdropping hackers troll with packet sniffing hacking tools.

To enable LinkedIn's secure browsing mode:

1. Click on the triangle next to your name in the top-right corner of the LinkedIn site after you've logged in.

2. Click the 'Settings' link from the drop down menu.

3. Click the 'Account' tab in the bottom-left corner of the screen.

4. Click on 'Manage Security Settings' and then put a check in the box that says 'When possible, use a secure connection (HTTPS) to browse LinkedIn' in the pop-up box that opens.

5. Click 'Save Changes'.

Consider Limiting The Information in Your Public Profile

Even though you might not have contact information in your public profile, there is a lot of potentially sensitive information that hackers and other internet-based bad guys can glean from your public LinkedIn Profile.

Listing the companies you work for or have worked for could help hackers with social engineering attacks against those companies. Listing the college you currently attend in the education section could help someone gain more information about your current whereabouts.

To limit information in your public profile:

1. Click on the triangle next to your name in the top-right corner of the LinkedIn site after you've logged in.

2. Click the 'Settings' link from the drop down menu.

3. From the 'Profile' tab at the bottom of the screen, choose the 'Edit Public Profile' link.

4. In the 'Customize Your Public Profile' box on the right side of the page, uncheck the boxes of the sections you wish to remove from public visibility.

Review Your Privacy Control Settings and Make Changes as Needed

If you aren't comfortable with people seeing your activity feed or knowing that you've viewed their profile, consider limiting access to your feed and/or setting the 'anonymous' profile viewing mode. These settings are available in the 'Privacy Controls' section of your 'Profile' tab.

You will want to check this section every so often for new privacy options that may be added in the future. If LinkedIn is anything like Facebook, this section may change often.

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