How Cyber Attackers Target HR Departments: Common Tactics

HR departments face diverse cyber threats, from deceptive emails to payroll fraud. This article highlights common tactics used by cyber attackers and provides concise tips for HR professionals to bolster defences and protect sensitive data. Emphasizing proactive measures is crucial in the ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity threats.

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  • Phishing & Smishing: Cybercriminals often use deceptive emails (phishing) and text messages (smishing) to trick HR employees into divulging sensitive information. These messages, posing as reputable sources, may contain malicious links capable of compromising an entire organization.
  • Recruitment Scams: Fraudulent job applicants, often concealing their identities through technology, target businesses in recruitment scams. By securing a position, they gain access to company logins, potentially leading to the theft of sensitive customer and client information. Criminals may also pose as job seekers, sending malicious attachments disguised as resumes.
  • Payroll Fraud Schemes: Cyber attackers may exploit vulnerabilities in payroll systems to commit fraud. This can result in financial losses and compromised employee data.

Tips to Protect HR from Cyberattacks:

  • Mandate Strong Passwords: Ensure employees use robust passwords for network security.
  • Stay Current with Cyber Protection: Regularly update and enhance cybersecurity measures to stay ahead of evolving threats.
  • Role-Based Access Control: Implement and monitor role-based access in HRIS to safeguard sensitive information.
  • Cybersecurity Training: Provide ongoing, job-specific cybersecurity training to HR staff.
  • Software Updates: Regularly update software to patch vulnerabilities and enhance security.
  • Remove Legacy Systems: Eliminate outdated systems to reduce security risks.
  • Cybersecurity for Cloud Applications: Apply strong cybersecurity measures for cloud-based applications.
  • Multifactor Authentication (MFA): Implement MFA to add an extra layer of security to network access.
  • Third-Party Cybersecurity Audit: Engage a third-party cybersecurity company to assess and enhance protection capabilities.
  • Background Checks for Remote Hiring: Utilize background checks during remote hiring to verify candidate authenticity.
  • Remove Departing Employee Access: Immediately revoke access to systems, software, and files when an employee departs.

Implementing these cybersecurity measures is crucial for safeguarding HR departments from potential cyber threats and ensuring the integrity of sensitive data.

Cyber Insurance for HR Cybersecurity Breaches: Key Benefits

  • Financial Protection: Covers legal fees, forensic investigations, and notification costs, reducing financial impact.
  • Data Breach Response: Facilitates a swift response, covering expenses for notifying affected parties and managing public relations.
  • Business Interruption Coverage: Compensates for financial losses during downtime for breach investigation and resolution.
  • Extortion and Ransomware Payments: Assists in covering costs related to negotiating and paying ransom in case of a ransomware attack.
  • Legal Protection: Covers legal defence costs and settlements arising from legal actions post-breach.
  • Reputation Management: Includes coverage for public relations efforts to rebuild trust and restore the company's image.
  • Cybersecurity Expertise: Provides access to cybersecurity experts for guidance on containment, recovery, and prevention.


Cyber insurance for HR cybersecurity breaches offers a comprehensive solution, providing financial security, swift response capabilities, and access to expertise to minimize the overall impact on the organization. As cyber threats evolve, having robust cyber insurance coverage becomes essential for maintaining operational resilience and safeguarding HR data.

Written By: PolicyBazaar - Updated: 15 December 2023
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