Feder: Tribune Publishing apologizes for phony phishing expedition

  • Employees of Tribune Publishing newspapers -- including the Chicago Tribune -- were up in arms Wednesday over a company email purporting to offer them bonuses.

    Employees of Tribune Publishing newspapers -- including the Chicago Tribune -- were up in arms Wednesday over a company email purporting to offer them bonuses.

 
 
Updated 9/24/2020 7:15 AM

Employees of Tribune Publishing newspapers -- including the Chicago Tribune -- were up in arms Wednesday over a company email purporting to offer them bonuses, Robert Feder writes.

"We are pleased to inform you that we are providing targeted bonuses between 5,000 and 10,000 dollars this year," it read. "Tribune Publishing is able to provide this bonus as a direct result of the success created by the ongoing efforts to cut our costs!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The email turned out to be a simulated phishing attack designed to test the vulnerability of recipients to cyber mischief.

Coming at a time of pay cuts, furloughs and newsroom closings, Tribune staffers were incensed by the scam.

The Chicago Tribune Guild called it "a heartless, insulting and tone-deaf exercise."

Amid the uproar, Tribune Publishing released this statement: "Today the company conducted a regular, internal test to assess and reduce its current phishing and malware risk level. Based on input provided by the company's cybersecurity team and advisors, the content of that test included language regarding employee bonuses. Having fallen victim to attacks of this nature before, the company recognized that bad actors use this type of language regularly, and decided to use the language to simulate common phishing scams. The company had no intention of offending any of its employees. In retrospect, the topic of the email was misleading and insensitive, and the company apologizes for its use."

Get the full report, and more Chicago media news, at robertfeder.com.

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