PTIAug 01, 2017 19:50:12 IST
Senior officials at the White House were tricked by a self-described UK-based "email prankster" and made at least one cyber security official believe that he was Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law.
The prankster managed to present himself as White House senior adviser Kushner, former chief of staff Reince Priebusand recently-nominated ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman Jr.
In one set, the prankster posed as Kushner in a message sent to Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert.
"Tom, we are arranging a bit of a soiree towards the end of August," the fake Kushner on an Outlook account wrote to the official White House email account of Bossert, the CNN reported.
Bossert wrote back: "Thanks, Jared. With a promise like that, I can't refuse. Also, if you ever need it, my personal email is" (redacted).
The email prankster said he was surprised Bossert responded given his expertise. White House officials acknowledged the incidents and said they were taking the matter seriously.
"We take all cyber related issues very seriously and are looking into these incidents further," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.
Cyber experts said the incidents are illustrative of how vulnerable Americans - even those in the highest reaches of power - remain to the potential threat of spear-phishing, the process through which officials are duped by hackers, and expose government computers and systems to various cyber threats.
No one in any of these situations clicked any links making them vulnerable, and the prankster appears motivated by mischief not anything more malignant, so the severity of these White House pranks should not be overstated.
Tech2 is now on WhatsApp. For all the buzz on the latest tech and science, sign up for our WhatsApp services. Just go to Tech2.com/Whatsapp and hit the Subscribe button.