Dramatic rise in fake accounts on Linkedin platform

A recent blog post by cyber security expert Brian Krebs, has noted a dramatic increase in fake profiles on the professional social networking platform, Linkedin. The FBI also issued a warning earlier this year, stating that fraudsters on Linkedin pose a significant threat to the platform and its users. 

Brian Krebs, cyber security expert and investigative journalist, noted in his recent blog post that on the 10th of October 2022: 

“There were 576,562 LinkedIn accounts that listed their current employer as Apple Inc. The next day, half of those profiles no longer existed. A similarly dramatic drop in the number of LinkedIn profiles claiming employment at Amazon comes as LinkedIn is struggling to combat a significant uptick in the creation of fake employee accounts that pair AI-generated profile photos with text lifted from legitimate users.” 

In addition to this, there has been a trend of fake profiles being created for senior executive roles within tech companies - mainly fake CISO (Chief Information Security Officer) roles at some of the largest corporations around the world.  

What is the motive?

It is unclear who exactly is behind this trend, and there are several theories surrounding the motivation behind it, including: North Korean hackers simulating CVs and profiles in order to land jobs at cryptocurrency organisations; “pig-butchering scams” whereby fake profiles message the victims and lure them into investing into fraudulent cryptocurren-cy schemes; or identity thieves simply masquerading as Linkedin recruiters to collect personal or financial information via employment scams. 

In a statement provided to Krebs following his report, Linkedin stated that its teams were actively working to remove the fake accounts: 

“We do have strong human and automated systems in place, and we’re continually improving, as fake account activity becomes more sophisticated...In our transparency report we share how our teams plus automated systems are stopping the vast majority of fraudulent activity we detect in our commu-nity – around 96% of fake accounts and around 99.1% of spam and scam.” 

Read the full cyber security report investigating this rise in fake profiles.

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