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01 Aug 2017

Top White House officials tricked by email prankster

Email prankster tricks senior White House officials

Turns out Russia's email hacking scandal isn't the only issue harassing the Trump administration.

Several senior White House officials were tricked by a UK-based email prankster after he sent them a series of messages impersonating other top Trump administration aides.

The prankster, who identifies himself as "lazy anarchist" on Twitter duped an official entrusted with cyber security and ousted communications director Anthony Scaramucci.

In context

Email prankster tricks senior White House officials

Details

Prankster may have stirred Priebus-Scaramucci row

The prankster used a mail.com account to message Scaramucci by impersonating former chief of staff Reince Priebus, a day after the latter resigned.

The fake Priebus called one of Scaramucci's tweets "breathtakingly hypocritical." Scaramucci replied calling on Priebus to "apologize."

Scaramucci had called Priebus a "f**king paranoid schizophrenic" in a profanity-laden interview that led to his quick dismissal, 10 days after his appointment.

Kushner impersonated

Top cyber security official fooled by Kushner impersonation

The prankster also duped Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert, who handles cyber security, into believing that he was President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner.

The fake Kushner invited Bossert for "a bit of a soirée."

Bossert wrote back: "Thanks, Jared. With a promise like that, I can't refuse."

Bossert also divulged his personal email ID.

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What!!

US ambassador, Eric Trump and Donald Jr. also hoodwinked

The same prankster also duped Scaramucci into responding to an email in which he impersonated Ambassador to Russia-designate Jon Huntsman Jr.

The real Huntsman was also tricked, this time with the prankster pretending to be President Trump's son Eric.

Eric was hoodwinked by the prankster emailing as his elder brother Donald Jr.

Donald Jr. however caught on and sent the mail to law enforcement.

Vulnerability

White House acknowledges prank, experts say it indicates cyber vulnerability

The White House has acknowledged the prankster emails and said they are treating the issue seriously.

Cyber experts said the incidents highlight how vulnerable Americans, even highly placed ones, are against the possible threat of spear-phishing.

2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's former campaign chair John Podesta had fallen victim to such a trap by someone having nefarious designs, not mockery.

Prankster: No intentions to spy, wants to keep things humorous

Prankster speaks

Prankster: No intentions to spy, wants to keep things humorous

"I try and keep it on the humorous side of things," the email prankster, whose Twitter handle is @SINON_REBORN, told CNN.

"I'm not trying to get the keys to the vault or anything like that," he added.

The prankster said he hadn't heard from law enforcement despite Donald Trump Jr.'s threat.

The prankster previously hoodwinked Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and Citigroup's Michael Corbat.

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