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Belgium – Staffing firm blackmailed after hacking attack

18 June 2012

Belgian staffing firm, AGO-Interim, appears to be in trouble after a group of hackers have accessed its database which contains sensitive information about 10,000 jobseekers and applicants. The hackers, which refer to themselves as Rex Mundi, are now blackmailing the firm to pay a ransom and are threatening to publish the data if the firm fails to do so.

Newspapers in the country report that the hackers have accessed the data over a week ago and are now in possession of candidate data which includes full names, addresses, phone numbers and identity card numbers. 

But the data apparently also reveals some offending remarks made by employees at the staffing firm about candidates’ profiles. Some applicants have, for instance, been described as being drunk, unstable, unmotivated or taking drugs. Consultants have allegedly made notes about which candidates should not be used for assignments.

The staffing firm has been given until Monday to pay the ransom but it is unknown how much money the hackers are demanding although reports suggest it is under €100,000.

The newspaper Standaard reports that the firm is not intending to pay and the company’s lawyer, Dirk Clarysse, has meanwhile said that the information about candidates had been manipulated. The hackers have denied this claim on their Twitter account, saying “Oh, you naughty boys at AGO Interim. We did not alter your applicant records, we don't even speak Dutch.”

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