Cybersecurity Risks in recruitment - Top Threats

Mats Andersson
Feb 19, 2024By Mats Andersson
Coding software developer work with augmented reality dashboard computer icons  with responsive cybersecurity.Businessman hand working.

The recruitment industry holds a humongous amount of data, much of which is sensitive information about candidates applying for jobs and client details. A cyberattack on a recruitment agency or a company that leads to the loss of critical data can cost it invaluable trust and a large amount of money.

In 2022, the average cost of a data breach, including lost business, detection and escalation, notification, and post-breach response, was $4.35 million. [1] Obviously, recovering from a detrimental cyberattack can be crippling. That's why shoring up defenses against cyber threats beforehand is the best solution. In this article, we'll discuss the importance of cybersecurity in the recruitment industry, the top threats, and how to enhance cybersecurity in recruitment.

The Importance of Cybersecurity in Recruitment
The primary target of most cyberattacks is confidential and personal data. The recruiting industry is one of the largest repositories of sensitive information and a prime target for cybercriminals.

Candidate and client information is the most valuable asset for a recruiting agency. Any breach in cybersecurity and theft of data impacts the agency’s reputation.

Here's why cybersecurity is critical in recruitment:

Threat to Sensitive Information
Recruiting companies hold sensitive information about candidates like their income, bank details, passport and visa information, address and contact details, client contracts, etc. Similarly, clients provide confidential information like business plans, restructuring programs, employee salaries, budgets, etc., with the recruiting agencies.

All these are potential targets for cyber crooks, who steal the information for selling in the black market or use the breach as a ransom attack.

Shared Devices - A Potential Target
It is common among clients and recruiting companies to share connected systems and devices for sharing information and smoother process management. These shared systems are potential targets for cyberattacks.

Further, the hybrid working model of the present also poses a cybersecurity risk to a recruiting agency. Candidates using compromised personal devices or working over unsecured networks significantly increase the cyber risks.

A recruiting agency that is better prepared with robust cyber security monitoring and threat prevention will stand out as a reliable recruiting partner.

You can put your hiring data on a safeguard with a certified compliance tool like Manatal’s ATS. Aside from offering user-friendly solutions to your needs, Manatal is SOC 2 Type II certified. It follows the highest standards of data security and privacy, based on the five trust service principles of security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy. Manatal also supports compliance with the data security laws and regulations such as GDPR and CCPA.

Top Cybersecurity Threats in Recruitment
Cybercriminals are relentless in their efforts to steal data or cripple systems. The top cybersecurity threats the recruitment industry faces are as follows:

1. Malware
A malware is an unscrupulous software that cripples a computer, server, or a computer network. It can siphon off critical data from a recruitment agency without being detected. A recruitment company can detect and deflect malware attacks with good anti-malware software.

Also, updating all software and systems can keep malware attacks at bay. Malicious emails are often the source for malware to enter systems. Putting spam filters in email services and training employees to detect and avoid opening suspicious emails will help avoid malware attacks.

2. Ransomware
It is a vicious software that denies users from accessing the system or data until the user pays a ransom. Ransomware is delivered predominantly through malicious emails. With large amounts of sensitive information, the recruitment industry is one of the prime targets for ransom attacks.

For a recruitment company, a ransomware attack has a dual detrimental effect of financial losses and reputational damage. Organizations can avoid ransomware attacks with proactive monitoring of critical IT systems.

3. Phishing
In a phishing attack, a cybercriminal can target an unaware employee posing as a trustworthy person and gather sensitive information like usernames, passcodes, etc.

Recruitment agencies constantly communicate via emails and are potential phishing targets. Training employees to detect suspicious emails is the best way to avoid phishing attacks.

4. Insider Threat
Deliberate or accidental data leakage by staff can have a destructive effect. A staff member leaving the company may steal critical data and pass it on to competitors, or a disgruntled employee may sabotage systems.

Preventing insider threats is possible with a real-time log management system. [3] It will show which employee is accessing which system and data and can raise red flags in real-time.

5. Hacking
Criminals try to access sensitive information from outside the organization by hacking into the IT systems. The recruitment industry is most vulnerable to hacking attempts as it has lucrative data, which the miscreants can sell in the black market.

Organizations can protect themselves from hacking with network firewalls, data access security, user activity monitoring [4], and staff training.

How Does Cloud Monitoring Enhance Cybersecurity in Recruitment?
Training employees, regularly updating software, removing legacy systems, installing anti-malware software, and shoring up firewall defenses are all essential cybersecurity measures.

But, the critical element in countering cyber threats is how quickly the threat is detected and countermeasures are deployed. Here is where cloud monitoring helps.

The IT systems of a recruitment agency capture numerous data and have multiple access points, an extensive server network, a plethora of applications, infrastructure, and many people accessing them. Monitoring the health of all the critical systems and user activity is crucial for repelling cyberattacks.

With a cloud monitoring application, a recruitment company can observe the functioning of its IT systems in real time. It gives complete visibility of the critical IT infrastructure of the company.

From monitoring databases to applications and managing logs to analyzing infrastructure, a cloud monitoring application provides a detailed picture of the functioning of the systems. It monitors, evaluates, and sends alerts on anomalies when detected.

With automated responses, a cloud monitoring application reduces the response turnaround time to cyberattacks, thus enabling smoother continuity of business operations. Also, automated incident reporting builds a rich history of activities that further helps scale cybersecurity measures.

A cloud monitoring application powered by AI should be the primary choice, as AI can perceive, analyze, and execute security measures in advance. It improves operational efficiency and enhances cybersecurity by manifold.

Cybersecurity Trends
As per the 2023 Official Cybercrime report, cybercrime will cost the global economy $10.5 billion by 2025.

With rapid technological advancements, cybercriminals are finding sophisticated ways to mount cyber-attacks.

For the recruitment industry, understanding and shoring up cybersecurity measures against the following cyber threats will help protect their business.

1. AI to the Fore
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has led to tremendous changes in cybersecurity. It helps with automatic threat detection and prevention, incident response, etc.

Yet, cybercriminals can use the same AI tech to deploy advanced malware to bypass the latest security protocols. Countermeasures to such attacks require constant monitoring of systems and networks, with immediate actionable response.

2. Sophisticated Phishing
With the advent of Generative AI, miscreants can launch sophisticated phishing attacks by taking a personalized approach using a deep fake. Criminals can social engineer with deep fakes and easily trick a person into disclosing sensitive information.

3. Remote Working Cybersecurity
In the current hybrid work culture, staff working from remote locations adds to cybersecurity challenges. Due to the possible nature of employees working on less secure networks and multiple-connected devices, they are potential targets for cyberattacks.

Security measures like regular monitoring of employee activities, use of VPNs, multi-factor authentications, and others can help an organization from cyber threats.

4. Security Breach with IoTs (Internet of Things)
More and more devices now have access to the Internet and are potential targets for cyber attackers. Sharing data over such devices is risky. The IoT devices are generally for convenience and have weak security protocols.

Training the staff to use secure devices and networks and follow the organization’s cybersecurity protocols are helpful to wade IoT security breaches.

5. Real-time Monitoring
Organizations must constantly watch out for irregularities in their systems and address issues immediately for effective cybersecurity.

Real-time monitoring will be the key cybersecurity measure going forward as it can proactively thwart any cyberattack attempts by monitoring all data access activities and assessing every log.

In the ever-evolving landscape of cyberspace, criminals are getting bolder in mounting cyberattacks. The recruitment industry is vulnerable to such attacks. Instead of taking action after an attack, proactively monitoring systems and networks will go a long way in thwarting any cyberattack attempt.

The effective observation of all the critical systems and response to situations in real-time is possible only with cloud monitoring. The feedback from every observation helps build cybersecurity resilience, a key element in maintaining the trust of clients and candidates in the recruitment industry.