Out-of-office e-mail auto-responses can be used to target homes to burglarize, a U.K. enterprise user group warned, urging office workers to avoid providing specifics on travel itineraries when setting up their auto-replies.
The group, calling itself "The Corporate IT Forum -- tif.," said that criminals need only send out a big batch of spam, collect whatever out-of-office messages come back providing details of holiday absences, and cross-reference names in e-mail with online address books to discover home addresses. People with unusual names living in small towns are especially at risk, because those addresses would be easier to track down.
"You wouldn't go on holiday with a note pinned to your door saying who you were, how long you were away for, and when you were coming back. So why would you put this in an e-mail?" said tif. chief executive David Roberts in a statement.
The organization recommends keeping messages as bland as possible, saying only that the user is "currently unable to deal with this query" or "out of the office on business." The e-mail should redirect inquiries to a colleague's business phone number so someone else can assess the inquiry and, if appropriate, verbally inform the caller of the duration of the absence.
News source: Internet Week
View: The Corporate IT Forum - tif. Press Release - "advises caution over Auto Reply Office Security"