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LinkedIn privacy and security

How to enhance your privacy and security on LinkedIn - secure connection, two-step verification, etc

By . Last modified: 2014-02-25.

LinkedIn is a popular social network that connects professionals, helps in seeking a new job or solve work-related problems.

General guidelines on staying safe at LinkedIn

First, always log in to LinkedIn via the secure page https://www.linkedin.com!

Second, do not post sensitive information: your passwords, secret work projects, etc. Do not post things that can harm you later. For example, "I really hate my stupid boss now" might get you fired if your boss finds out about it...

Third, do not trust all people who want to connect with you - there are many cyber-crooks among them. Be selective and ask questions, if needed, before accepting requests to join someone's professional network.

Fourth, you can block annoying LinkedIn users easily. Just open the profile, click down arrow mark on the right side of Send a message button and click Block or report.
If you change your mind later, unblocking is available in Privacy & Settings, Profile section.
LinkedIn, to block a user, open his/her profile. Then click the downward pointing triangle in the right part of 'Send a message' button and click 'Block or report'.

Fifth, always log off of LinkedIn after you've done visiting the site - otherwise LinkedIn applications and advertisers might track your browsing habits, and this is not that harmless! And do not expect logging out of Windows or restarting your computer to protect you there - you really-really need to sign out of LinkedIn to delete cookies that might allow tracking.
To stay safe, click your account photo on the top right and select Sign Out from the menu.
LinkedIn - to securely end your session and prevent tracking, click your photo and click 'Sign Out'.

Configuring LinkedIn settings

To set your LinkedIn preferences, click your account on the top right and click Privacy & Settings (Review).
LinkedIn - to change settings, click your photo and then click 'Privacy & Settings'.

LinkedIn Profile settings

Profile tab opens first. Click Turn on/off your activity broadcasts.
LinkedIn, Settings, Profile. Click 'Turn on/off your activity broadcasts'.

It is recommended to keep your activity private to prevent unwanted people from seeing potentially sensitive data - for example, your current boss might not like you looking for a new job.
Clear the Let people know when you change your profile, make recommendations, or follow companies check box to be on the safe side in the future. Then click the Save changes button.
LinkedIn, Settings, Profile, Activity broadcasts. Clear the 'Let people know when you change your profile, make recommendations, or follow companies' check box. Then click Save changes.

Next, click the Select who can see your activity feed link.
LinkedIn, Settings, Profile. Click the 'Select who can see your activity feed' link.

Limit the visibility to Your connections. Click Save changes.
You could also limit the visibility to Your network or Only you, but never select Everyone here - your activity on LinkedIn should be private.
LinkedIn, Settings, Profile, Who can see your activity feed. Select 'Your connections'. Then click 'Save changes'.

Back on Profile tab, click the Select what others see when you've viewed their profile link.
LinkedIn, Settings, Profile. Click the 'Select what others see when you've viewed their profile' link.

The recommended option is fine with most people, but those who need to keep their actions private should click the Anonymous profile characteristics such as industry and title radio button.
Don't forget to click the Save changes button! Wink
LinkedIn, Settings, Profile, What others see when you've viewed their profile. The default option, 'Your name and headline (Recommended)', is fine here.

Next, click the Select who can see your connections link.
LinkedIn, Settings, Profile. Click the 'Select who can see your connections' link.

Most people should choose the Your connections option here, but those needing to keep the details under cover should choose Only you instead.
But remember, shared connections will always stay visible!
Click Save changes.
LinkedIn, Settings, Profile, Who can see your connections. Select 'Your connections'. Then click 'Save changes'.

Open the Change your profile photo & visibility link.
LinkedIn, Settings, Profile. Click the 'Change your profile photo & visibility' link.

Select either the My Connections or My Network option here. Never use the Everyone option!
Remember, if you message someone on LinkedIn, your profile photo will be displayed in the mail.
Click Save Settings.
LinkedIn, Settings, Profile, Change your profile photo & visibility. Select 'My connections' or 'My Network'. Then click 'Save Settings'.

To unblock any users you might have blocked earlier, use the Manage who you're blocking link.
LinkedIn, Settings, Profile. Click 'Manage who you're blocking' to unblock users.

Back on the Profile tab, click the Edit your public profile link on the right. This is a very important setting, as this controls if or how major search engines, such as Google, Bing or Yahoo! see, index and display your LinkedIn profile.
LinkedIn, Settings, Profile. Click the 'Edit your public profile' link.

The best option is to prevent search engines' access to your LinkedIn profile - click the Make my public profile visible to no one option on the right side of the screen. This will avoid accidental leakages of your private data.
If you do want to appear in search results, select the Make my public profile visible to everyone option, but please limit the exposed data to Basics only!
Click Go back to Settings on the top right.
LinkedIn, Settings, Profile, Customize your public profile. Select 'Make my public profile visible to no one'. Then click 'Go back to Settings'.

LinkedIn Communications settings

Click the Communications tab. Then open Select the types of messages you're willing to receive.
LinkedIn, Settings, Communications. Click the 'Select the types of messages you're willing to receive' link.

You should limit the LinkedIn message types to Introductions and InMail only and deselect all categories in the Opportunities section. This will prevent careless or malicious people from spamming.
Type a descriptive text in the Advice to people who are contacting you field.
Click Save changes.
LinkedIn, Settings, Communications, Types of messages you're willing to receive. Select 'Introductions and InMail only'. Clear all categories in the Opportunites section. Then click 'Save changes'.

Open Select who can send you invitations next.
LinkedIn, Settings, Communications. Click the 'Select who can send you invitations' link.

To prevent spamming, select the Only people who know your email address or appear in your "Imported Contacts" list option.
Remember to click Save changes!
LinkedIn, Settings, Communications, Who can send you invitations. Select 'Only people who know your email address or appear in your Imported Contacts list'. Click 'Save changes'.

On the right, in the LinkedIn Communications section, click the Turn on/off invitations to participate in research link. No, this option is not for scientific researches, but marketing. Yeah, the long questionnaires... Laughing
LinkedIn, Settings, Communications. Click the 'Turn on/off invitations to participate in research' link.

Clear the Yes, I'd like to receive invitations to participate in online research studies check box and click Save changes.
LinkedIn, Settings, Communications, Invitations to participate in research. Clear the 'Yes, I'd like to receive invitations to participate in online research studies' check box. Click 'Save changes'.

Click Turn on/off partner InMail next. This controls LinkedIn partners' ability to send you promotional mails. You know - buy this, buy that, we are the best, you are special to us, etc. Wink
LinkedIn, Settings, Communications. Click the 'Turn on/off partner InMail' link.

Clear both check boxes here before clicking Save changes. You really do not need the informational and promotional messages from LinkedIn's marketing partners or hiring campaign partners.
LinkedIn, Settings, Communications, Partner InMail. Clear all check boxes. Click 'Save changes'.

LinkedIn Groups, Companies & Applications settings

Click the Groups, Companies & Applications tab. Then open Turn on/off group invitations.
LinkedIn, Settings, Groups, Companies & Applications. Click the 'Turn on/off group invitations' link.

If you like to discover and join LinkedIn groups, leave the I am open to receiving group invitations check box selected. If not, clear it.
Click Save changes.
LinkedIn, Settings, Groups, Companies & Applications, Group invitations. Leave the 'I am open to receiving group invitations' check box selected. Click 'Save changes'.

To control whether to display a message on your activity feed after you've joined a new group on LinkedIn, click Turn on/off notifications when joining groups.
LinkedIn, Settings, Groups, Companies & Applications. Click the 'Turn on/off notifications when joining groups' link.

Clear the Yes, publish an update to my network whenever I join a group that has these notifications enabled by the group owner check box if you want to keep such activity private.
Click Save changes.
LinkedIn, Settings, Groups, Companies & Applications, Notifications when joining groups. Leave the 'Yes, publish an update to my network whenever I join a group that has these notifications enabled by the group owner' check box selected. Click 'Save changes'.

Next, click the View your applications link in the Applications section.
LinkedIn, Settings, Groups, Companies & Applications. Click the 'View your applications' link.

Here you can see all authorized applications and external websites. Check if you really need these, and if not, select the unnecessary items and click Remove.
LinkedIn, Settings, Groups, Companies & Applications, Authorized Applications and External Websites. To delete unneeded apps and websites, select these and click 'Remove'.

In the Privacy Controls section, click Turn on/off data sharing with 3rd party applications.
LinkedIn, Settings, Groups, Companies & Applications. Click the 'Turn on/off data sharing with 3rd party applications' link.

To prevent leaking your personal information to third-party apps, clear the Yes, share my data with third-party applications check box before clicking Save changes.
LinkedIn, Settings, Groups, Companies & Applications, Data sharing with third-party applications. Clear the 'Yes, share my data with third party applications' check box. Then click 'Save changes'.

Click the Manage settings for LinkedIn plugins on third-party sites link.
LinkedIn, Settings, Groups, Companies & Applications. Click the 'Manage settings for LinkedIn plugins on third-party sites' link.

To prevent LinkedIn from learning your browsing habits via plug-ins on web sites, clear the Yes, allow LinkedIn to receive information about my visits to pages that use LinkedIn plugins check box.
Also, please remember to sign out of LinkedIn after you've finished using it!
Click the Save changes button.
LinkedIn, Settings, Groups, Companies & Applications, Manage settings for LinkedIn plugins on third-party sites. Untick the 'Yes, allow LinkedIn to receive information about my visits to pages that use LinkedIn plugins' check box. Then click 'Save changes'.

LinkedIn Account settings

Open Account tab. In the Privacy Controls section, click Manage Advertising Preferences.
LinkedIn, Settings, Account. Click the 'Manage Advertising Preferences' link.

Enhanced advertising means that you might see personal ads on LinkedIn partner web sites. For example, "Oh, you got a new job? Checking typical payroll... How about a new Ferrari?" Tongue out
Not that bad (hopefully), but you should not allow advertising companies to track you. So please clear the LinkedIn may show me ads on third-party websites check box and click Save changes.
LinkedIn, Settings, Account, Manage Advertising Preferences. Clear the 'LinkedIn may show me ads on third-party websites' check box. Then click 'Save changes'.

In the Settings section, click Manage security settings.
LinkedIn, Settings, Account. Click the 'Manage security settings' link.

As you see, here are the two most important LinkedIn settings - secure connection and two-step authentication.
First, tick the A secure connection will be used when you are browsing LinkedIn check box. This will ensure that all your sessions are fully encrypted using the HTTPS protocol.
LinkedIn, Settings, Account, Security Settings. Enable the 'A secure connection will be used when you are browsing LinkedIn' option.

Next, if you want to use two-factor authentication for signing in to LinkedIn, click the Turn On link.
This additional security feature means that you'll receive a six-digit security code on your mobile phone after you sign in from an unknown or new device, and you can access your account only after inputting the code. This will keep hackers away even after they steal your user name and password.
Web browsers must be configured so that they will not delete cookies stored by LinkedIn, otherwise you must enter a new security code each time you log in to your account.
LinkedIn, Settings, Account, Security Settings. Click 'Turn on' in the 'Two-step verification for sign in' section.

You must then enter your mobile phone number that will be used for receiving verification codes. Your country is detected automatically, but you can change it if necessary. Click Send Code.
LinkedIn, Security Settings, Two-factor authentication. Type your mobile phone number and click 'Send Code'.

Type the verification code that arrived via SMS and then click Verify. You'll also receive an e-mail from LinkedIn to notify that you are now using 2-factor authentication.
LinkedIn, Security Settings, Turn on two-step verification. Enter the 6-digit code you received on your phone and click Verify.

That's it - your LinkedIn account is now much more secure!
If you get a new phone number later, just click the Change phone number link to set it as the mobile that receives the verification codes.
LinkedIn, Settings, Account, Security Settings, Two-step verification. Click 'Change phone number' to set a new number for verification codes.

Here's an example of LinkedIn's Two-Step Verification. Input the 6-digit code from the SMS you received. If you are planning to use the browser or device for accessing your account frequently, tick the Recognize this device in the future check box. If not, clear it.
Then click Verify.
LinkedIn, Two-Step Verification page. Enter the security code from SMS and click Verify.

You will also receive a notification e-mail from LinkedIn about each login attempt from an unrecognized device.
In case you receive such e-mail and you have not tried signing in to your account, you should change your LinkedIn password immediately.

And here's how to change your LinkedIn password. Just click the Change password link on the Account tab.
LinkedIn, Settings, Account. To change your passphrase, click the 'Change password' link.

Type your present password into Old password field. Then fill New password and Confirm new password fields and click the Change password button.
Remember to create a strong and unique passphrase! Never re-use passwords! Consider using free password manager software to store and auto-fill your user names and passwords securely. You can use free Trusteer Rapport to protect your online accounts.
LinkedIn, Settings, Account, Change your password. Enter your current passphrase into 'Old password' field. Then fill 'New password' and 'Confirm new password' fields. Click 'Change password'.


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