(RNN) - The popular social networking website LinkedIn has confirmed that some of its user's passwords have been compromised after reports earlier today that encrypted passwords had been leaked to the web.
The company launched an investigation into claims that a file containing more than 6 million encrypted user passwords had been leaked to a Russian web forum.
Before 4 p.m. ET, the website tweeted to confirm that some of the leaked passwords corresponded to active LinkedIn accounts.
"We are continuing to investigate this situation," LinkedIn Director Vicente Silveira said in a blog post. "We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this has caused our members. We take the security of our members very seriously."
Approximately 6.5 million passwords were posted online, the technology news publication The Verge reported. It appears the email accounts associated with the passwords have not been leaked online.
The passwords are encrypted, but the encryption is not necessarily foolproof, and it's likely an associated list of email addresses is in the hands of the hacker who allegedly leaked the passwords.
For users whose information has been stolen, passwords will automatically be reset, according to Silveira. An e-mail from LinkedIn will advise them on how to change their passwords - but they won't contain any links in them. The lack of links is likely meant to distinguish them from potentially fake e-mails, aimed at getting user information from unsuspecting members.
A second e-mail will be sent to affected users as well to explain why a password change is needed.
"It is worth noting that the affected members who update their passwords and members whose passwords have not been compromised benefit from the enhanced security we just recently put in place, which includes hashing and salting of our current password databases," Silveira said.
LinkedIn is the largest online professional network, with approximately 161 million users in more than 200 countries and territories. The social networking site provides users with the opportunity to job hunt, connect with references and showcase their resumes online.
Copyright 2012 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.
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