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The Recruiter Virus

By July 2, 2015One Comment

Recruiters are under attack.  And no, not necessarily from the legions of disgruntled jobseekers and aghast HR departments who are our traditional detractors.  This time it’s from those lovely people who try to eke out an excuse for a life sending computer viruses from dark rooms in darker corners of the globe.

Most of you will be dab hands at fending off emails from lead-generation spammers by now.  Many will be quite at ease identifying and roundly ignoring the spurious solicitor emails suggesting you’ve been bequeathed an unexpected inheritance from a hitherto unknown relative.  And I’m sure all of you have managed to come to terms with the truth that the Nigerian prince asking to deposit large sums of money in your bank account for safe keeping are not quite what they seem.

But the cyber attacks seem to have become more personal now.  For a couple of months’ now I’ve been receiving emails purporting to be from potential candidates sending their CV, with the attached “CV” containing some cocktail of computer viruses.  Some of you might know what I mean and received the same.  Certainly, talking with a couple of other recruiters at our recent #RicePowWow event, I don’t appear to be the only recruiter out there receiving these:


And hey, perhaps these are in fact the actions of disgruntled jobseekers after all.  But seeing as one of the most frequent complaints of serial CV spammers and job applicants is that they send their messages into a recruiting black hole, never to be contacted again, I’d be surprised if they would land upon this method as way of getting their own back!

Whatever the reason behind it, it’s clear that the wording of these messages is designed to coerce and encourage recruiters in particular into opening the attachment.  The virus, called a Nemucod.AA trojan, installs other programs onto your PC without your consent, including other malware.  And it appears that us kiwi recruiters, in our trusting ways, are falling for it more than the recruiters of other Western economies:

nemucod map

Have you been receiving the same kind of attacks, that seem so tailored for us recruiters?  Keep an eye out.  There’s been a lot of talk about candidate experience recently.  I think this is definitely one of those times it’s perfectly ok to hit the delete button before scanning the CV 🙂

Jonathan Rice

MD at New Zealand rec-to-rec firm Rice Consulting and co-founder of on-demand recruiter offering Joyn. Recruitment agitator and frustrated idealist, father of two, husband of one, and lover of all things Arsenal and crafty beer.

One Comment

  • Paul Heath says:

    Yes we’ve been warned off this. And I suspect it’s come about from the increased number of LinkedIn spammers. So beware who you accept connects from. If they’re not in your industry and have very few contacts they’re probably false, despite a great photo and job title.