Victims are at risk of having external accounts such as Twitter and Facebook illegally accessed if they use the same password for these systems as Gawker.com
LinkedIn accounts would be a goldmine for identity thieves and spammers because the site displays personal details such as phone numbers, date of birth, martial status, addresses, personal and business relationships, and full resumes. Some of the world's wealthiest people have their details posted on the site.
The business networking site is emailing affected users with a plain text letter that instructs them to reset their passwords on the site. It does not reference the Gawker.com breach or include a link to the LinkedIn website.
LinkedIn spokesperson for Australia and New Zealand Tara Commerford said the move is part of a proactive security measure by LinkedIn due to the Gawker.com security breach.
"In this case our proactive approach identified a small number of LinkedIn member accounts that may be at risk due to the breach on Gawker," Commerford said.
"For those members, we have disabled their LinkedIn accounts temporarily, and we have already sent them emails with instructions on how to go to LinkedIn to reset their passwords."
Commerford urged LinkedIn users not to reuse passwords.
"In response to using the same passwords on multiple accounts, we encourage all our members to be safe when selecting passwords for their LinkedIn accounts by choosing a password that they don't use for any other account online," she said.