A person asked me a question today about a LinkedIn invitation. A stranger, who belonged to one of his LinkedIn groups, sent him an invitation to connect. As is usual with LinkedIn invitations, the invitation came to him via email. When he clicked on the “accept” option, he became suspicious that the email was not generated by LinkedIn but was generated by a spammer or some insidious malware. Unfortunately, I had to inform him that his suspicions were correct. His computer has been compromised.
This is a fairly recent development with LinkedIn. I first heard about it about 3 months ago from Jim Frinak, a fellow “Social Media Hands-on Lab” coach. The way to avoid this is pretty straight forward. NEVER accept an invitation via email. ALWAYS log into LinkedIn and check your “Inbox” for invitations. ONLY accept invitations which come from your Inbox on LinkedIn.
These malefactors are always trying to find a way to get to you. You have to keep your guard up. So far, I have not heard about any viruses that snuck into and are being spread by the LinkedIn web site, but it is only a matter of time. Each week I receive spam from gmail accounts and the spam is being generated from viruses on the gmail servers. The spam comes from accounts of people who do not download email to their computers and who scan their computers frequently for viruses. If Google can not keep malware out, do not expect LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or the rest to succeed.
I have seen several articles on this virus, dating from last summer (2010). Here is an example http://www.bnet.com/blog/businesstips/fake-linkedin-requests-how-to-spot-them/8563
The only thing I would disagree with, is his thought about accepting a LinkedIn invitation from someone he does not know. I am in business development (sales). I meet a lot of people each week. I am careful about “linking in” with people, but still accept invitations from strangers. I do a little screening first. For more information on the rules I follow, here is a post I did on that: Take The Drama Out of LinkedIn Invitations.
Business Development Director
Corporate Marketing Department…one hour at a time