VACANCY ANNOUNCEMENTS: AN UNACKNOWLEDGED SECURITY RISK
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Do current U.S. job listings create vulnerabilities to private industries seeking to hire new talent? The hypothesis of this research study argues that many vacancy announcements present informational, organizational, and personnel vulnerabilities to the hiring companies. In a policy-oriented case study review of seventy vacancy announcements, the study determined six job listings across three industries—energy, healthcare, and aviation—contained information that could reveal sensitive trade secrets. These listings posed informational and organizational vulnerabilities to these six organizations, with varying levels of risk and threat. No vulnerabilities towards personnel were found in any job announcement. The hypothesis is disproven, as less than 9% of job postings reviewed were found to have created security risks to companies. This small percentage of the total announcements reviewed indicates that only a minuscule minority of the tens of thousands of vacancy announcements online contain potential vulnerabilities: the problem is not widespread. These conclusions, however, may be disproven with a larger sample size analyzing dozens of U.S. economic industries and hundreds—or thousands—of vacancy announcements. Despite this low statistic, U.S. private industry and companies around the world should begin to consider job listings as another potential information security risk, given the number of state and non-state actors seeking to exploit corporate data.