Earlier this month, I reported on a bot attack currently befalling LinkedIn, courtesy of research from KrebsOnSecurity. A follow-up post on the cybersecurity blog shows that LinkedIn seems to be purging hundreds of thousands of accounts. In just a few days the number of employees with Apple and Amazon drastically fell on the site.
On October 10, 576,562 accounts claimed to be employees of Apple, while 1,249,921 were claiming employment with Amazon. For reference, Apple had an employee base of 154,000 in 2021, while Amazon's was 1,298,000 the same year.
In other words, LinkedIn was (and indeed still is) flooded with fake bot accounts pretending to be Apple and Amazon employees. However, within a 24-hour period – following the KrebsOnSecurity blog – the number of these accounts fell significantly.
Apple “employee” accounts on the site fells nearly 50% to around 285,000, while Amazon accounts dropped by 33 percent to 838,601.
It seems obvious that LinkedIn took action and purged accounts. Hopefully, the company was accurate and removed only AI bot accounts and not actual employees. LinkedIn has not commented on the purge, but it still does not remove all the bot accounts.
Of course, this is only a snapshot of two companies. LinkedIn is currently flooded by bot accounts, so it is worth treading carefully when interacting on the network.
LinkedIn has mostly been able to avoid the bot profiles that plague other social media networks. That now seems to be changing. Why fake profiles are becoming more common is unclear. Following the initial report, feedback from LinkedIn users and HR departments using the network is that the false profiles are everywhere, mostly mimicking executive positions within major organizations.
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