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01 August 2017

Hacker fooled White House into giving personal information

How an email prankster fooled the White House. Picture: Twitter/SINON—REBORN

A UK hacker fooled Trump’s White House officials into handing over personal information.

The “email pranker” claimed he was the president’s senior adviser, Jared Kushner, and fooled the official in charge of cyber security to hand over his private email address.

CNN has revealed the content of the email exchange with Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert.

“Tom, we are arranging a bit of a soiree towards the end of August,” the prankster pretending to be Kushner said.

“It would be great if you could make it, I promise food of at least comparible (sic) quality to that which we ate in Iraq. Should be a great evening.”

Bossert seemed quite keen on the invite and said: “Thanks, Jared. With a promise like that, I can’t refuse. Also, if you ever need it, my personal email is (redacted).”

CNN contacted Bossert for comment but he did not respond to requests.

The email prankster shared the emails with the news service and even had a warning that said “suspected spam”.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told CNN they would look into the incident further and took it seriously.

A cyber expert said it showed Americans were vulnerable, even when they were in a high-profile position. The expert said while there were no threatening links in the email and the prankster was stirring trouble rather than attempting to be malicious, it showed how easy it could be for hackers to gather information.

“This shows how susceptible government officials are to spear-phishing in general,” former cyber specialist and FBI special agent Adam Malone said.

“Spear-phishing is the most common technique used by hackers to gain access to their victims. This information shines a light on how easy it is for people to build trust with unverified individuals.”

CNN reports during another email exchange, the prankster emailed Anthony Scaramucci, the White House’s then-communications director, who has now been dumped from the role after just 11 days on the job.

The prankster sent an email from a mail.com account, pretending to be since-fired White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.

“I had promised myself I would leave my hands mud free,” the prankster wrote while posing as Priebus.

“But after reading your tweet today which stated how ‘soon we will learn who in the media who has class, and who hasn’t’, has pushed me to this. That tweet was breathtakingly hypocritical, even for you. At no stage have you acted in a way that’s even remotely classy, yet you believe that’s the standard by which everyone should behave towards you? General Kelly will do a fine job. I’ll even admit he will do a better job than me. But the way in which that transition has come about has been diabolical. And hurtful. I don’t expect a reply.”

But the prankster did get a reply from Scaramucci himself, which said: “You know what you did. We all do. Even today. But rest assured we were prepared. A man would apologise”.

The prankster, as Priebus, replied: “I can’t believe you are questioning my ethics! The so called ‘Mooch’, who can’t even manage his first week in the White House without leaving upset in his wake. I have nothing to apologise for”.

“Read Shakespeare. Particularly Othello. You are right there. My family is fine by the way and will thrive. I know what you did. No more replies from me,” Scaramucci said.

The prankster is on Twitter as @SINON—REBORN, where he describes himself as an “email prankster” and “lazy anarchist”.

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