GoDaddy’s security has been under the microscope lately, with two high profile security incidents reported by Krebs On Security on November 21 and on March 31. I wrote about the first incident, which involved an account held by Escrow.com. With many employees working from home because of Covid-19, it has likely become a much more challenging task to ensure GoDaddy employees use best security practices to avoid being hacked or having systems or accounts compromised.
According to an article in The Copper Courier, GoDaddy tested its employees by deploying an email promising a holiday bonus, but it was really a phishing test in disguise:
With the holidays around the corner, GoDaddy employees received an email last week offering some welcome financial relief: a $650 holiday bonus.
Two days later, they received another email from GoDaddy:
“You failed our recent phishing test.” https://t.co/FHWG93BnAM
— Lorraine Longhi 🌵 (@lolonghi) December 23, 2020
According to the article, “roughly 500 GoDaddy employees clicked on the holiday bonus email and ‘failed the test.‘”
I am not a security expert, but I would imagine these types of tests are commonplace at large companies and can serve as a reminder to employees to be extra cautious when dealing from emails that appear to be sent from official sources. Perhaps the security issues the company faced were caused by phishing or spearphishing, and the company is making an effort to keep employees vigilant at all times.
Many people are dealing with economic uncertainty due to the pandemic, so a bonus fakeout phishing test during this time is a bit cruel though. That said, I would imagine this is exactly the type of email a bad actor might send to try and gain access to GoDaddy systems and accounts.
I asked a GoDaddy representative if the company could comment about what happened, and I was told an apology was given to employees:
“GoDaddy takes the security of our platform extremely seriously. We understand some employees were upset by the phishing attempt and felt it was insensitive, for which we have apologized. While the test mimicked real attempts in play today, we need to do better and be more sensitive to our employees.”
Security is one of the top factors for domain registrants when choosing a registrar and hosting service. I don’t know the right way to ensure that employees are following security protocols, but this particular effort was not appreciated. It is a bit scary that 500 employees fell for the ruse though.