Among the many exasperating lapses detailed in the New York Times’ lengthy report on Russia’s apparent interference with the 2016 election, one in particular stands out — the scale of its repercussions matched only by its banality. It seems that the hack of John Podesta’s emails may have been the result of a single typo in an email intended to warn him of the risk.
The typo? A Clinton campaign aide told the Times that he wrote “legitimate” instead of “illegitimate” in reference to a phishing email. One click later, and the hackers were in the door.
It’s one tiny mistake in a tragicomedy of errors, but — if it’s true — is a powerful demonstration of how the smallest lapse in cybersecurity, a single typo or click, can serve as the fulcrum on which an entire career, news cycle, or arguably election can be tipped.
The NYT report is long, but well worth the read — if you don’t mind finishing the article a little more weary and cynical than you started.