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3 new tools for staying secure on LinkedIn

LinkedIn offers so many features that it’s hard for most users to be aware of – much less take advantage of – all of them. However, it recently added three new tools that you should familiarise yourself with for one very important reason: security.

While my posts here typically focus on the main reasons people use LinkedIn – to build their professional networks and credibility – it’s worth taking a few moments to talk about why it’s important to pursue those aims in a safe, secure manner.

As we’ve seen far too often recently with the massive data security breaches at JPMorgan Chase, Target and other major organisations, the internet remains highly vulnerable to profit-seeking or simply malicious hackers and others intent on stealing and misusing the personal information of others. The personal information that you present on the internet can also be misused or abused, so protecting your professional reputation means protecting your LinkedIn account data.

Fortunately, LinkedIn has recently added several new tools that make it easier for you to do so.

The first is a sessions tool, which you can access by going to your “Privacy & Settings” and then clicking on the link that says, “See where you are logged in.”

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This is an extremely useful feature in that it allows you to see all the devices you have used to access LinkedIn, and which ones remain connected via active sessions to LinkedIn and which ones shouldn’t be!

So if, for example, you’ve recently updated your LinkedIn account from a shared computer or tablet at work, you can check and see whether you remembered to sign out of LinkedIn on that device after making your changes. If you haven’t, the sessions screen provides you a one-click option to sign out from that device or all of the previously opened sessions.

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The next new tool is the data archive. This allows you to easily, with just one click, download and back up all of the data on your LinkedIn account.

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Simply hit the “Request archive” button and, within about 72 hours, LinkedIn will send you an email with a link that will let you export all of your account data. This includes not only your account activity and updates, but IP records, searches, the time of your most recent login and more.

Finally, there’s a new tool for safeguarding your all-important password. This offers a new layer of protection against phishing attacks, a far-too-common way of tricking people into providing their usernames and passwords via illegitimate links that, for all appearances, looks like the real deal.

Now, whenever you make (or someone else makes) a security-related change to your LinkedIn account, you will receive an email with important details about when and where that change was made. The email will provide you with the time and date of the change, the browser and operating system used at the time, the IP address from which the change was made and the approximate geographic location from which the change was made.

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If you weren’t the one making the change, the email also provides you with a reminder and a live link urging you to “change your password right away.”

All three of these new tools – sessions, data archives and password update – will help to ensure that you, and only you, are the one with control over your LinkedIn account and the information presented there. They’re welcome additions to LinkedIn’s functionality that you should keep in mind as you work to fine-tune your professional profile online.