The weakest link in any security system is always the human in the loop. More computer networks are compromised because of laziness, incompetence, and just rank stupidity by humans than by all the high tech hackers in the world.

If you recall the genesis of the hacking of John Podesta’s email had two parts. First, Podesta received a spear-phishing email made to look like it was from Google that told him someone had tried to access his email and that he should immediately change it. It gave him a helpful link. Podesta was suspicious and asked Hillary Clinton’s crack IT team what to do. They told him the email was legit and to do what it said. Podesta complied and we know how it happened because his Help Desk request was among his leaked emails. No wizardry of computer code was involved, they simply asked Podesta for his password and got it.

Over the past few days, numerous members of the Trump administration have been sucked into email exchanges with an internet troll who goes by the Twitter handle @SINON_REBORN. Nothing high tech was involved. @SINON_REBORN created a mail.com address using the name of other administration members and went to work.

“Reince Priebus” trolls Anthony Scaramucci:

On Friday, Scaramucci posted this tweet:

“Reince Priebus” wasn’t amused:

reince-troll1

Scaramucci fired back:

Scaramucci, apparently unaware the email was a hoax, responded with indignation.

“You know what you did. We all do. Even today. But rest assured we were prepared. A Man would apologize,” Scaramucci wrote.

The prankster, now aware that he had deceived the beleaguered Scaramucci, went in for the kill.

“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,” the fake Priebus wrote. “I have nothing to apologize for.”

Scaramucci shot back with a veiled threat to destroy Priebus Shakespearean-style.

“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,” the actual Scaramucci.

“Jon Huntsman” trolls Anthony Scaramucci:

As is noted, what is significant here is that Scaramucci apparently didn’t disagree with the description of Trump’s sons.

“Eric Trump” trolls Jon Huntsman:

Huntsman himself was also tricked, with the prankster pretending to be Eric Trump, the President’s son. “Thanks for the thoughtful note,” the ambassador-designate wrote to fake Eric Trump. “Russia will be a challenging but no doubt rewarding assignment.” The fake Eric Trump responded with this suggestion: “Maybe we could have Dad sat (sic) on a horse, top off, giving the full Putin! He’s in better shape than his suits suggest.”

“Donald Trump, Jr.” trolls Eric Trump:

Eric Trump, too, was similarly hoodwinked by the prankster emailing as his older brother, Donald Trump Jr., but he soon caught on and responded, “I have sent this to law enforcement who will handle from here.”

Fun and games, so far, but the danger of this was soon made obvious. “Jared Kushner” invited Trump’s Homeland Security adviser to a party:

In one episode, CNN reported, the prankster posed as Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, and wrote to Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert, who revealed his personal email address unsolicited.

Bossert works on cybersecurity issues, but still fell for the prank.

“Tom, we are arranging a bit of a soirée towards the end of August,” the prankster posing as Kushner wrote to Bossert’s official White House email account.

“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 wrote back: “Thanks, Jared. With a promise like that, I can’t refuse. Also, if you ever need it, my personal email is” (redacted).

One can only imagine the havoc that would have been wrought had a hacker intent upon breaching the White House email system been at work rather than someone amusing his Twitter followers.