Business social network LinkedIn has launched an investigation into claims that 6.5 million of its users’ passwords have been stolen and leaked on a Russian computer hacking forum.
Security experts claimed that the passwords are circulating in the forum of a cryptographic ‘hash’, which converts text into a seemingly random string of numbers and letters using a mathematical formula.
It means anyone wishing to use the hashed passwords would need some technical expertise and time to recover their original characters, the Telegraph reports.
LinkedIn users were warned by some experts to change their passwords as soon as possible as a precaution.
“It would seem sensible to suggest to LinkedIn users that they change their passwords as soon as possible as a precautionary step,” the paper quoted Graham Cluley of the British internet security firm Sophos, as saying.
Users who have used the same password on LinkedIn as on other websites were also warned to change it elsewhere.
LinkedIn boasts over 150 million users who use it to form professional connections and post their CV online.
The site made no comment on the matter except that it was investigating the claims.