Professional connections: To link or not to link?

I’ve been a member of LinkedIn since 2012 and have never used it to search for professional connections. Perhaps its because I haven’t been in the job market. Perhaps I haven’t understood the value of professional networking on this platform. The extent of my use has been the occasional acceptance of a connection request.
So what is the value of LinkedIn?

According to The Undercover Recruiter, its features allow you to build an online professional identity, maintain a professional network, search member profiles, reconnect with colleagues and classmates, and give and receive recommendations and introductions – all for free.

Stolen identity
Sounds like a good deal. Except in 2016, Linkedin revealed that a hack, which occurred four years earlier, had yielded more damage than originally thought. Hackers stole and sold 117 million member passwords on the black market. The company originally reported 6.5 million compromised passwords.

“Now, computer security experts are wondering why it took so long for LinkedIn to figure out what happened to their own company computers -- or acknowledge it publicly,” wrote Jose Pagliery of CNN Tech. “The worst part about it is that, because people tend to reuse their passwords, hackers are more likely to gain access to 117 million people's email and bank accounts.”

Frankly, the online community is somewhat desensitized to hackers stealing data. We can minimize this damage by not reusing passwords. But since the information we so openly share on LinkedIn can be viewed by anyone, can it also be used to recreate and steal your identity? The question is about more than stolen passwords. How much do we want just anyone to know about our professional histories – and, in the wrong hands, what can be done with that information? Hmm, perhaps it’s time to close my Linkedin account.

Sources:
"Sundberg, Jörgen. Do candidates need a LinkedIn premium account?," http://theundercoverrecruiter.com/linkedin-job-seeker-premium-accounts-waste-money-or-fast-lane-success/. Accessed 12 March 2017."

"Pagliery, Jose. Hackers selling 117 million LinkedIn passwords, CNN Tech, 19 May 2016, http://money.cnn.com/2016/05/19/technology/linkedin-hack/. Accessed 12 March 2017."

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