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LinkedIn's Lynda.com Notifies Users of Data Breach

Lynda.com, the online learning platform acquired last year by LinkedIn for $1.5 billion, started notifying customers over the weekend that a database containing user information had been accessed by an unauthorized third party.

The company told customers it recently became aware that a database storing learning data, including contact information and viewed courses, had been breached. However, it pointed out that there was no evidence of passwords being exposed or any data being made publicly available.

Nevertheless, LinkedIn said the passwords of 55,000 Lynda.com users have been reset as a precaution. The company will also notify roughly 9.5 million users whose learner data – excluding password information – had been stored in the breached database.

It’s unclear if the “unauthorized third party” is a malicious hacker or a security researcher scanning the web for exposed databases. Several white hats have reported finding publicly available databases in the past months, but their efforts have not always been appreciated by the affected companies.

LinkedIn says it has taken additional steps to secure Lynda.com accounts and it has notified law enforcement.

LinkedIn, which was recently acquired by Microsoft for over $26 billion, has dealt with far more severe breaches in the past. The company was hacked in 2012, when the passwords of 117 million users were stolen. It was initially believed that the incident only affected 6.5 million accounts.

Shortly after the LinkedIn user information surfaced online in May, researchers started seeing personalized email attacks that leveraged the compromised data.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.