London, Jan 27: Hackers gained access to confidential details provided by 4.5 million people to Monster.co.uk, the online recruitment site. Names, passwords, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, birth dates, sex and ethnicity data as well as other 'demographic information', were all stolen, The Times quoted a company spokesman, as saying.
It is the most extensive breach of confidential data since HM Revenue and Customs lost the details of 25 million child benefit recipients in 2007. The victims are mainly professional staff seeking work in the economic downturn. Registrations at the site, which allows employers to browse thousands of CVs online, have soared as redundancies have risen.
Monster.com refused to comment on how much information had been taken but The Times understands that the personal details of millions of people can be downloaded in under an hour once a hacker has gained access.
Security analysts told The Times that the plundered data from the recruitment site would be used by organised gangs to open fake bank accounts or take out loans in the names of unsuspecting customers.