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LinkedIn intro: Data, meet security issues

Oct 27, 20133 mins
Application SecurityIT Leadership

Essentially this is a shim that accesses your email. LinkedIn currently support Gmail, Google Apps, Yahoo! Mail, AOL Mail, and iCloud. This hooks directly into iOS7’s mail application. The idea here is to provide you a little more background as to who might be sending you an email. Example, Bob is the Director of “Compliancy” for Megacorp and so forth. This shim, or proxy, allows all of your mail to be routed through…LinkedIn.

OK, so who out there thinks that this is REMOTELY a good idea?

From LinkedIn:

Today, half of all emails are read on a mobile device!

So we set ourselves the challenge: bring the power of LinkedIn, and the technology of Rapportive, straight to the Apple Mail app on your iPhone.

We call it… LinkedIn Intro.

Intro shows you LinkedIn profiles in your iPhone Mail app.

Sure, with all of these stories about data monitoring by the NSA and lets not forget the security breaches at LinkedIn just over a year ago I have say this seems ill advised. Why should the end user have to give up security for the sake of convenience? Did anyone think to review this application from the security and privacy perspective? 


From password resets to personally identifiable information, it is curious that they would want to proxy this information. The ramifications could be significant. I can’t imagine that the EFF or a privacy commissioner (from anywhere) would see this as a beneficial piece of software.

The key piece of the puzzle is how to remove this application if you have managed to load it already. Thankfully, LinkedIn has provided a step by step on how exactly to unscrew the situation. 

From LinkedIn:

To uninstall LinkedIn Intro, you’ll need to first remove the mail account, and then remove the associated profiles. For technical reasons, you can’t remove the LinkedIn Intro app icon directly from your iPhone’s home screen.

To remove a LinkedIn Intro mail account:

  1. Tap the LinkedIn Intro app icon.
  2. Tap to select the relevant mail account.
  3. Tap the remove account button.

To remove LinkedIn Intro profiles and the app icon:

  1. From your iPhone home screen, tap the iPhone Settings app.
  2. Tap the General section.
    • If you weren’t taken to the main page of your iPhone settings, tap the navigation arrow in the top left until you get back to the main settings page.
  3. Scroll down and tap the Profiles section.
  4. Tap all profiles that start with LinkedIn Intro to remove. It’s important to remove all of them.

This will remove the LinkedIn Intro app icon and all LinkedIn Intro mail accounts.

Do not sacrifice what little security and privacy you have for the sake of convenience.

I’m not out to beat LinkedIn about the head and neck with a salmon or Apple for that matter for allowing this. LinkedIn is a company and they’re looking to make money. I get it. I feel compelled to point out that you, kind reader, are their product. It is incumbent upon you to take a stand and decide how your data is used.

Personally, I don’t want more organizations have access to my personal email than already do…*cough* NSA *cough*

All kidding aside, think before you get an Intro.


Dave Lewis has over two decades of industry experience. He has extensive experience in IT security operations and management. Currently, Dave is a Global Security Advocate for Akamai Technologies. He is the founder of the security site Liquidmatrix Security Digest and co-host of the Liquidmatrix podcast.

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of Dave Lewis and do not necessarily represent those of IDG Communications, Inc., its parent, subsidiary or affiliated companies.

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