A self-described UK-based "email prankster" tricked a number of White House officials, including an episode where he convinced a cyber security executive that he was Jared Kushner and received the officer's private email address unsolicited.
"Tom, we are arranging a bit of a soiree towards the end of August," the fake Jared Kushner on an Outlook account wrote to the official White House email account of Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert.
"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…."
The email prankster told CNN on Monday that 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 told CNN.
According to cyber experts, the incident is an example 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.