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Hack of Irish job site exposes user names, addresses

Barn door promptly closed

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Employment search site RecruitIreland.com has reopened its doors following a security breach that exposed users' names and email addresses.

The site, which claims to add 350 new users each day and email a newsletter to 170,000 registered job candidates, warned that some clients were already receiving spam that tried to recruit them as mules to transfer funds on behalf of fraudsters, Sophos reported. The breach came to light on Tuesday afternoon and resulted in the site being taken down for about seven hours.

“Clearly it's a ghastly situation for the RecruitIreland website, and its users have been left exposed by the security breach,” a post on Sophos' Naked Security blog stated. “Questions will no doubt be asked as to why the sensitive information was not held securely (was encryption being used?) and how it was possible for hackers to steal such valuable data.”

The company said only that the cause of the breach – likely a “code error” – had had been identified and that the “particular issue has now been addressed.” Brian Honan of BH Consulting has been working with the company to audit its site.

It's not the first time scammers have targeted a job recruiting website. In January 2009, Monster.com lost a wealth of personal data belonging to millions of job seekers after its database was illegally accessed. It was the third serious attack on the site in 18 months. And last year, The Guardian warned 500,000 users that hackers may have got hold of private information held on the site after a "sophisticated and deliberate" attack.

RecruitIreland has informed the Data Protection Commissioner and Gardai of the breach. Exposed information was limited to users' first and last names and email addresses, the company said. ®

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