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February-April 2018

Spoofing of Dutch politicians causes heated debate

Email addresses of Dutch politicians are easy to spoof, as journalists in the Netherlands showed earlier this month. What followed was a heated debate about the responsibilities of reporters in revealing security flaws, and the implementation of common security practices on email servers. The news broke after Dutch investigative journalists from Follow The Money (FTM) – a website that specialises mostly in financial news stories – posted an article on the possibility of spoofing emails sent in the name of Dutch MPs. Reporters discovered the possibility of sending emails that appeared to come from @tweedekamer.nl, the domain used by Dutch parliament. FTM worked with ethical hacker Maarten Boone, who tipped off the reporters about the “leak”. It was later revealed that Boone had recently been laid off from Fox-IT, a security company that advises the Dutch government on cyber security practices and which had revealed the flaw a long time ago. To corroborate their story, the reporters sent several emails to Dutch MPs that were ...

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