Phishing Test Lands Rail Firm On Wrong Side Of The Tracks

Phishing Test Lands Rail Firm On Wrong Side Of The Tracks

What started as an internal test of West Midlands Trains’ susceptibility to phishing attacks has ended in a very public dressing down from rail union bosses, who have criticised the “cynical and shocking stunt, designed to trick employees who have been on the front line throughout this terrible pandemic”.

Whilst the testing of internal systems and processes is a key part of wider reputation management services, what made this particular case so controversial was the fact the phishing attempt enticed employees with the promise of a ‘pandemic bonus’ in recognition of their service over the last year. After clicking the link to receive the bonus, they were met with a message telling them they’d fallen victim to a test designed by the company’s IT security team, and of course wouldn’t be receiving any financial incentive for doing so.

Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the rail union, said WMT must account for their “totally crass and reprehensible behaviour”. He added “they could and should have used any other pretext to test their internet security. It’s almost beyond belief that they chose to falsely offer a bonus to workers who have done so much in the fight against this virus”.

So what in theory began as an internal test of the company’s cyber-security in an attempt to protect its reputation, has ended up being a fast-developing test of its crisis management with pressure from various parties to honour the bonuses falsely offered to staff.

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