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What happened was a phishing test, an exercise party leaders mistook for the real thing

But it developed this morning that there was no actual attack. What happened was a phishing test, an exercise party leaders mistook for the real thing. The DNC leaders say they didn't authorize a phishing test, and it's not clear how they know the incident was just a test, but being caught out like this is embarrassing to any organization. CNN calls the episode a "SNAFU," which seems about right.

The WSJ explained a day later: "One person familiar with the matter said the test site was created at the request of the Michigan Democratic Party by DigiDems, a volunteer group of technology experts that does work for the Democratic Party. The DNC wasn’t notified of the test, which led to the confusion over the spoofed site’s origin, this person said.

In a statement, the Michigan Democratic Party confirmed that its “digital partners” ran the test out of an abundance of caution. “Despite our misstep and the alarms that were set off, it’s most important that all of the security systems in place worked,” Brandon Dillion, the state party’s chairman, said. “Cybersecurity experts agree this kind of testing is critical to protecting an organization’s infrastructure, and we will continue to work with our partners, including the DNC, to protect our systems and our democracy.”

Awareness training is important, but it's important to do it right. When an organization runs interactive, realistic training, it's got to know, at the appropriate levels, what's going on. This kind of "scoring into your own goal" is easy to commit, but it's also easy to avoid.

 

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