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Spammers Break into NSW Government Jobs Site

The government website of New South Wales (NSW) Australia that advertises public service jobs is under a state of compromise. The perpetrators spammed the information of job seekers via bogus vacancies in attempts to grab personal information or potentially spread viruses.

The Department of Commerce that administers the jobs.nsw.gov.au website declined to say if any personal information had been lost from the government's servers. However, the department had withdrawn the site from the Internet in the 4th week of January 2009 for maintenance purposes.

The site continued to be offline as of January 26, 2009 while the department refused to explain the manner in which the incident happened. The department did not specify the time when the site was expected to resume normal functioning.

However, a statement was posted on the site that warned job seekers against replaying to a spam mail advertising a non-existent job opening and seeking the recipient's response for further information.

On the other hand, a job seeker belonging to Maitland, NSW, applied for a public service job in January 2009 and soon got an e-mail from the jobs.nsw.gov.au announcing the most suitable post for her along with a good salary.

The e-mail directed recipients to follow a link to provide more information, but thinking it was dubious, they deleted it immediately.

Sending an e-mail offering fake job opportunities are characteristic of spammers who deliver information stealing malware or try to gather extensive personal data from victims. The collected data could be utilized for identity theft and fraud by hacking into online banking accounts or even for withdrawing money as credit.

A spokeswoman of the Department of Commerce said the issue was being investigated while the website had been temporarily suspended.

According to her, when Internet users receive unauthorized e-mails, the most secure thing they could do is to shut down the site, start an investigation procedure, and make alternative arrangements to advertise the jobs.

She further stated that they did not know the degree of sophistication used, but they hoped that in coming day or a little later, they would get to know the details.

Related article: Spammers Continue their Campaigns Successfully

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