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Why Modern Recruiters Must Emphasize Cybersecurity

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In this digital age where we live a significant portion of our lives through our computers, phones, and other digital devices, cyber attacks have become increasingly common. We socialize, shop, get our news, read, play, and work digitally.

Just in the past couple of years even, so many more people have been working and “living” digitally or remotely thanks to the pandemic. People certainly still do things in person, but recent technological advances that were spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in a major increase in the use of this tech to live, play, and work online.

Unfortunately, this has also led to an increase in cyber attacks. Cybercriminals go where the people are, and the people are on their phones and on their computers now more than ever. This has especially become a major concern for HR departments and recruiters.

With remote and hybrid work becoming increasingly popular, and with more companies automating their hiring and onboarding processes anyways, cybercriminals have zeroed in on this area of the internet. As such, recruiters must start upping their cybersecurity measures to protect the companies they work for and the sensitive data of applicants.

Why Cybersecurity Is Essential

Cybersecurity has always been important. Since computers and the internet have been around, so have cyber threats. However, things are much more advanced today, which means cybercriminals have also advanced their skills and become more clever.

The people from vCiso can explain how it’s now more important than ever to make sure that you are doing what you can to protect your own data. This is not limited to just personal information but also includes business and company data.

We also store significantly more data on the internet today than we used to. Processes that used to be manual, such as sharing sensitive information and signing documents, are now primarily digital. This means cybersecurity is now more important than ever, and it will continue to be essential as the world becomes more and more digital. 

And if you just look at companies and their hiring and recruiting processes, so much sensitive data gets exchanged back and forth in these situations — especially now that so many companies have adopted remote work and hybrid office models.

Now, even after a new employee is hired, so much information is shared with them digitally as they go through onboarding and training. That information may include info about the company, passwords, logins, security protocols, and financial information for things like direct deposit of paychecks. All of that becomes vulnerable to hacking.

This is particularly problematic for recruiting firms, as they often handle recruiting for multiple different companies. So if they get hacked, it means all of the companies they work for essentially get hacked, which can put a lot of people and sensitive data in a compromising position.

Common HR and Recruiting Cybersecurity Threats

There are a number of ways a company can be hacked or compromised, as there are so many different methods of cyber attacks today. Some of the most common cyber threats to recruitment include:

Phishing Scams

Phishing is when a cyber criminal pretends to be something or someone else in an attempt to gain access to sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords, and financial information. And phishing scams can happen almost anywhere in a variety of ways.

For recruiters, this can happen through email and even right from the start when they are searching for applicants. Cybercriminals can set up fake accounts and pretend to be an interested applicant in an effort to gain access to company information. They sometimes even make fake HR profiles in an attempt to breach networks.

Of course, email phishing scams are some of the most common forms of phishing today, which makes email security risks a major problem for recruitment agencies. They could get fake emails from companies interested in their recruiting services, or they could get emails from fake applicants interested in a job.


If a recruiter does open a phishing email, they could become vulnerable to a malware attack. Not only do cyber criminals simply try to pretend to be someone else to simply gain access to sensitive information, but they also use emails to get you to click on links that can release malicious software into your system, which can then damage your computer, the server, the network, and more.


Ransomware is a type of malware that releases malicious software that denies the user access to their data or computer system until a ransom is paid. This is common with high-end, valuable recruitment agencies. The cybercriminals hope to hold the agency’s system for ransom, forcing them to pay up to avoid having all of their clients’ sensitive data compromised.

Insider Attacks

Some cyber criminals can even be people that genuinely get hired and start working for a company. Once they have inside access, that’s when they steal data, either in the hopes of bringing the company down, taking the info to use for themselves to start their own company, or once again holding the company for ransom.

This is a lot more common than you might think and can very easily happen with recruitment agencies that hire these people and place them within their own company or at other companies.

Camera Hacking

As so many people work from home today, the use of computer cameras has become more prevalent for things like interviews, training, and meetings. Unfortunately, computer cameras can also be hacked.

Computer cameras or webcams can be accessed and used to spy on whatever is being said or shown within the camera’s field of vision. Hackers can even turn the lights off on a camera to make it seem like it’s not in use in an effort to go undetected.

Since recruiting agencies and HR departments often use computer cameras for interviewing, onboarding, and training, this is another way they can be easily compromised.

Cybersecurity Best Practices for Recruiters

Luckily, there are steps you can take as a recruiter to prevent these cyber attacks and protect yourself from fraud:

  • Use multi-factor verification for logins;
  • Check sender email addresses to ensure they are coming from the right person or company before clicking on anything in the email;
  • Conduct regular backups of critical data;
  • Use data encryption ;
  • Upgrade your software;
  • Use firewalls;
  • Choose a secure cloud service for data sharing and storage;
  • Limit access to sensitive data to necessary employees;
  • Conduct regular security audits;
  • Keep employees and new hires up to date on cybersecurity best practices;
  • Have a professional handle your cybersecurity strategy to ensure all bases are covered.

Though recruitment agencies are a target right now with hiring processes now being almost entirely digital, you can still avoid these threats and keep your company and your client’s data safe. It’s all about being mindful of where information is coming from, where it’s going, and who has access to it.

Wrapping Up

Double-check emails to make sure they are coming from a legitimate source, make sure applicants are real and genuine, use encryption to keep sensitive data and digital documents secure, and only store and share data on highly secure cloud networks. Having a dedicated cybersecurity team for your recruitment agency can also help, as they will be better equipped to spot and prevent threats.

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