LinkedIn Fights To Shut Email Revealing Add-On

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe’s Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

LinkedIn says it is doing everything it can to shut down a service called Sell Hack which shares email addresses, but the tool’s developers plead their innocence

Business-focused social network LinkedIn has said it is doing everything it can to shut Sell Hack, a service that exposes users’ email addresses.

At the start of the week, LinkedIn lawyers sent a cease and desist letter to Sell Hack, a Chrome browser extension that offers a “hack in” function to find email addresses of users.

LinkedIn PeopleLinkedIn against Sell Hack

“We are doing everything we can to shut Sell Hack down,” a LinkedIn spokesperson said, in an email statement sent to TechWeekEurope.

“LinkedIn members who downloaded Sell Hack should uninstall it immediately and contact Sell Hack requesting that their data be deleted. We advise LinkedIn members to protect themselves and to use caution before downloading any third-party extension or app.”

Yet Sell Hack said it was not taking any data that was not publicly available. “We only processed publicly visible data from LinkedIn based on your profile permissions… all of which has been deleted,” the developers said in a blog post.

“We’ve been described as sneaky, nefarious, no good, not ‘legitimate’ amongst other references by some. We’re not.  We’re dads from the midwest who like to build web and mobile products that people use.”

It promised to build a better product that did not infringe on LinkedIn’s terms and conditions. Currently the plug-in does not work with LinkedIn pages.

Earlier this year, the networking platform sued a group of individuals who were allegedly using bots to scrape information from the site, before sending the data back off to servers on the Amazon Web Services cloud.

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