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LinkedIn’s Monday: Security Flaw, Stock Slide

May 23, 2011
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

LinkedIn is getting hammered today as investors already edgy over European debt problems are bidding down the stock that last week had a stunning runup when it made its public debut.

While the Dow is off 151 points in early afternoon trading in New York — 1.3 percent — LinkedIn is selling at just under $86, a drop of 7.2 percent from Friday’s $93.09 close.

Since hitting a high of $122.70 on its first trading day last Thursday, LinkedIn has become the poster child for Internet bubble talk. A Sunday New York Times story about the company began, “What are shares of LinkedIn really worth?”

The conclusion? Probably not the $9 billion valuation investors gave the company last week. The stock benefited from investor fascination with all things social.

This morning, Indie Research, an independent research service, picked up on the Times story and riffed on the high valuation theme. It got wider circulation than it might when Yahoo Finance picked it up.

Meanwhile, a security consultant in India Sunday posted a blog note about LinkedIn’s cookies posing a potential risk. It’s not as potentially serious as when hackers broke into the Sony PlayStation network and stole millions of bytes of personal information, including credit card information.

However, Rishi Narang reported, wrote on his blog that LinkedIn cookies remain active for a year, giving hackers a big window to capture the information and use it to access accounts. The cookies themselves are not sent securely, so hackers might be able to capture them using so-called sniffing tools.

While credit card information is probably not at risk, Narang said he captured the access information for some LinkedIn users and could have altered their profile information or manipulated other parts of their online presence.

Reuters reported LinkedIn officials said the company was preparing to offer additional security on an opt-in basis that would include encrypting the cookies.

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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