Recruitment firms and company human resources (HR) departments are being directly targeted by spammers, a new report suggests.

Antivirus company MessageLabs claims that HR departments and recruitment agencies receive more Microsoft Office documents from untrusted sources, such as personal accounts and home users, and have more easily accessible email addresses.

Targeted Trojan attacks can be sneaked into Office documents and used to disrupt or take control of users’ PCs, while malware can be accidentally emailed to companies by home users unaware that their PC is infected.

Mark Sunner, chief technology officer for MessageLabs, told ZDNet: “Their basic currency is CVs, or Word documents. Recruitment agencies and human resources receive a higher proportion of Office documents from personal accounts and from home users.”

Mr Sunner pointed out that the retail and recreation sector also suffered from high levels of spam because of its proximity to the home user community and suggested that any markets close to home PC users had problems with internet fraud attacks.

MessageLabs has reported an increase in Trojan horses in Microsoft documents in recent months, with spam attacks specifically targeting pharmaceutical companies, in an attempt to steal confidential intellectual property information, and governments because of the potential importance of stolen information.

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