LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD), the largest professional social network, filed a lawsuit against unidentified hackers who used automated software to create thousands of fake member accounts and copied information from the profile pages members on its website.
According to Bloomberg, LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD) filed the charges against the unknown hackers in the federal court of San Francisco yesterday. In the complaint, the company alleged that the hackers violated its user agreement, and state and federal fraud laws for practicing data “scraping.”
LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD) said the hackers damaged and disrupted its computer networks and threaten to reduce the value of LinkedIn Recruiter, its fastest growing fee-based service used by Fortune 100 companies.
Jonathan Blavin, the legal counsel representing LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD) wrote in the complaint that the hackers’ practice “undermines the integrity and effectiveness” of the professional network of the company by littering it with thousands of fake member profiles.
According to the company, the unknown hackers managed to bypass its security programs and created thousands of new member accounts since May. The hackers accessed the profiles of hundreds of thousands of its members every day.
Serving subpoena to Amazon.com to identify hackers
LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD) said the perpetrators used the Amazon Web Services, the cloud computer platform of Amazon.com, Inc. (NYSE:AMZN) in circumventing its security programs. The company is hoping to identify the hackers by serving a subpoena to the e-commerce giant. Amazon.com is not a defendant in the case.
The company also indicated in its complaint that it monitored the activity of the fake member profiles and disabled them. It is requesting the court to issue an order to stop the hackers from their data scraping practice and it is also seeking unspecified amount for the damages.
LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD) has more than 250 million members. Its spokesperson, Hani Durzy emphasized that the main priority of the company is the privacy of its members. Durzy said, “We’re a members-first organization and we feel we have a responsibility to protect the control that our members have over the information they put on LinkedIn.”
LinkedIn stocks downgraded to neutral
Meanwhile, Merrill Lynch downgraded its rating for the shares of LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD) from Buy to Neutral and lowered its price target from $270 to $240 per share. The research firm believed that stock might take a pause on tougher comparable growth numbers.
The stock price of the company is up by nearly 3% to $209.14 per share at the time of this writing around 3:10 P.M. in New York.