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Monster warns victims and pledges better defense

Work details used for targeted attacks

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Monster Worldwide, the owner of employment search site Monster.com, last week began notifying the estimated 1.3 million users affected by a breach that leaked résumé information and pledged to beef up network monitoring and defenses to prevent such a leak from happening again.

As reported by SecurityFocus, a malicious Trojan-horse program dubbed Infostealer.Monstres accessed résumé data using stolen, but valid, employer credentials and copied the information to a remote server. The information included names, physical and e-mail addresses, and phone numbers. At least one reader of SecurityFocus has claimed to have been notified by Monster that their information had been stolen.

The company has stated that it will contact the estimated 1.3 million people affected by the breach. The company also promised to strengthen security measures, including monitoring site traffic worldwide, reviewing all site access policies and investigating better ways of protecting users' information.

"Protecting the job seekers who use our website is a top priority at Monster," Sal Iannuzzi, chairman and CEO of Monster Worldwide, said in a statement issued on Wednesday. "These issues are increasingly prevalent throughout the internet, which is why Monster is enhancing its security and reaching out to everyone with an active resume on our site. We believe these actions are the responsible steps to protect our valued job seekers and customers."

The attacks are the latest warning to job sites and seekers that résumés have become valuable commodities in the underground economy. In 2005, a privacy watchdog warned that employment details were increasingly being used by identity thieves to open accounts in other people's names. The work details are typically used to help turn massive spam campaigns into far more effective targeted attacks. Earlier this year, a Trojan horse that posed as a complaint from the Better Business Bureau claimed thousands of victims after it was targeted at executive management at small and medium firms.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management announced on Wednesday that 146,000 federal employees who had their résumés listed on USAJobs.gov were also affected by the breach. The federal employment website is administered by Monster.com.

Monster has contacted the appropriate law enforcement agencies about the breach, the company stated.

If you have tips or insights on this topic, please contact SecurityFocus.

This article originally appeared in Security Focus.

Copyright © 2007, SecurityFocus

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