Gizmodo's phishing test reveals security risk for some Trump staffers
Some members of the Trump administration may be vulnerable to online phishing schemes.
Weeks before the Google Docs attack was launched across the web on May 3, Gizmodo Media Group's Special Projects Desk decided to test the Internet savviness of 15 people associated with the Trump White House—including press secretary Sean Spicer and senior adviser Stephen Miller.
As a recent post about the experiment explains, "We sent them an email that mimicked an invitation to view a spreadsheet in Google Docs. The emails came from the address firstname.lastname@example.org, but the sender name each one displayed was that of someone who might plausibly email the recipient, such as a colleague, friend, or family member."
Once the link was clicked, recipients would be sent to another page which looked like a login screen.
While some did not access the initial email at all, Gizmodo reports that "more than half the recipients clicked the link."
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The site also notes that "informal presidential advisor Newt Gingrich and FBI director James Comey...replied to the emails they'd gotten, apparently taking the sender's identity at face value." Both asked for further information on what the document was.
Gizmodo warns that the administration needs to be more careful going forward, as cyber threats have targeted politicians before.
Russian agents have been accused of hacking into the emails of Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Democratic National Committee before the 2016 election. More recently, a group, also suspected of being from Russia, leaked emails from the campaign of France's presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron, notes Wired.
The Independent reports that the problem is considered so serious that the U.K. government has issued a warning to its politicians about such cyber security threats.
And the need for better security seems to apply to virtually all organizations.
In January this year, top Trump advisers including Steve Bannon, Jared Kushner, and Kellyanne Conway were found, according to Newsweek, of having "active accounts on a Republican National Committee (RNC) email system."
The media outlet notes that "the RNC email system, according to U.S. intelligence, was hacked during the 2016 race."