LinkedIn's new Intro feature is touted as a better way to make connections with email contacts, but security researchers say it puts users' data at risk.
When it launched last week, experts warned that Intro is unsecured because it allows LinkedIn to intercept your email messages in order to insert profile data into them.
When Intro is enabled, a contact's LinkedIn profile information and photo are displayed within each email message. The feature is currently only compatible with the Apple Mail app for iPhone.
"When the LinkedIn Security team was presented with the core design of Intro, we made sure we built the most secure implementation we believed possible," the blog post states.
The company said email messages are never transferred to or from its servers in unencrypted form and are only stored briefly before being deleted.
LinkedIn added that it explored every possible method of attack and took measures to ensure its tool is protected against them.
Despite any risks, the feature could benefit small business owners in a variety of ways.
By tapping the LinkedIn Intro panel in an email, you can view a link to your contact's LinkedIn profile, professional website, education history, mutual contacts and more — all without leaving the Apple Mail app.
That means Intro could help users put names to faces, establish rapport and craft the right response for each email they receive. It could also help users distinguish spam from genuine messages.
Small business owners could take advantage of Intro to more quickly establish relationships with prospective clients, or scope out a job candidate's professional history, without scouring the Internet.