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Friday, 24 August 2007 11:21

Huge data security breach at Monster.com

Written by David Stellmack
Image

Confidential information of 1.3 million job seekers stolen

Computer hackers broke into online job site Monster.com’s resume library using stolen credentials and stole the confidential information of 1.3 million job seekers. The hackers reportedly launched the attack using servers at a Ukraine Web-hosting company and a number of PCs that were infected with a malicious software program.

Monster.com claims that the information stolen pertained to E-mail addresses, names, addresses and telephone numbers, and no other personal information. But the hackers got enough information to likely send millions of E-mail inquiries asking users to confirm bank account numbers as well as to send phony E-greeting cards that seed viruses on the user’s PCs when the fake E-card link is clicked on.

To make matters even worse, Monster.com waited five days to inform its customers that hackers had broken into its servers and misappropriated customers’ confidential information. According to Monster, Symantec noticed the intrusion and informed Monster on August 17th. Monster then launched its security team into action, finally located the servers in the Ukraine and got the Web-hosting company to shut the servers down; unfortunately, this didn’t occur until approximately August 21st.

Symantec was then reportedly the first to report the security breach on its Web site by issuing an announcement that it had found fake E-mails that were reported to be from Monster.com job recruiters asking the E-mail recipients for bank account information. The day after the Symantec posting, August 22nd, Monster.com finally posted a warning on its Web site of the data theft and advised that its job seekers should beware of suspicious E-mails asking for personal and financial information.

The fact that Monster.com waited five days to acknowledge and report this data theft to its customers certainly doesn’t seem to us to be very responsible business behavior. Monster.com encourages its job seekers to create complete profiles and to post them publicly on the Monster Web site.

There is a certain level of trust expected when customers are posting this type of information on a Web site. While social security numbers aren’t listed at Monster, customer names, addresses, telephone numbers and E-mail addresses are, and this information is certainly more than enough for hackers to “phish” and develop to create identity theft. It certainly makes us think twice about posting information on Web sites.

Read more here.

Last modified on Friday, 24 August 2007 12:00

David Stellmack

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