Email auto-reply for staff away from the office could potentially help hackers and spammers find identity theft opportunities, according to a content security firm.
Chris Poulos, managing director for Australia/New Zealand at Trend Micro, said that recent research had found tapping into auto-reply messages was one of the easiest ways for spammers to collect sensitive information such as company names, addresses, titles and phone numbers.
“A criminal could pretend to be an agent of the company while the designated person is out of the office, sending out an email to customers offering to provide assistance while the designated person is on leave," Poulos warned.
"Companies and individuals need to protect themselves to ensure that their email application does not send out a public announcement saying 'I am away from the office -- please come in and do as you like'," he said.
In a statement about the issue, Trend Micro said that it could result in substantial financial loss, damaged credit ratings and an invasion of personal privacy.