LONDON — An email prankster that has fooled everyone from White House officials to the governor of the Bank of England has claimed another victim: UK home secretary Amber Rudd.
The Guardian reports that the conservative minister was tricked by “Sinon Reborn” into a brief email exchange with what she believed was an advisor before realising that all was not well.
Rudd told the hoaxer — posing as advisor Robbie Gibbs that she is working on “plans to ensure we have some positive announcements during [August].”
Sinon responded asking for what the plans were, at which point Rudd cottoned on, replying: “Well, as you can imagine a few things on the agenda but getting tough on people impersonating others is definitely up there.”
Amber Rudd’s office did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment. A “Home Office source” downplayed the hoax’s significance to The Guardian: “As the email exchange shows, she rapidly established that this was a hoax and had only exchanged pleasantries up to that point.”
But Sinon Reborn said that it was intended to highlight the issue of cybersecurity, which falls under Rudd’s remit, telling the newspaper: “I managed to speak to a home secretary with relative ease on her personal email address … I replied again saying: ‘Don’t you think you should be more aware of cyber security if you are home secretary?’ and I never got a reply from that.”
Sinon Reborn — named after Sinon, the legendary figure that is purported to have tricked Troy into taking the Greeks’ “Trojan Horse” into their city — has made headlines with his hoaxes in recent months.
In July, the prankster targeted now-ex-White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci by pretending to be Reince Priebus, and Scaramucci responded to “Priebus”: “You know what you did. We all do. Even today. But rest assured we were prepared. A Man would apologise.”
And in May, Sinon Reborn tricked Bank of England governor Mark Carney by pretending to be Anthony Habgood, chairman of the Court of the Bank of England. The two discussed drinking and a (fictional) party invite, and when the prankster brought up the “dashing bar ladies” he claimed to have hired, Carney responded: “Not appropriate at all.”