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Taiwan's civil servants caught by sexy email trap

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Some 1,000 sex-obsessed civil servants in Taiwan have been sent on an internet security course after being caught in a kind of online honey trap set up by their local government employer.

The government of New Taipei City, next door to the Taiwanese capital, sent an email to its 6,000 employees in order to test their resolve, AFP reported.

The email used classic social engineering techniques to encourage recipients to open it – claiming to contain a salacious video relating to a popular celebrity sex scandal currently doing the rounds in the country.

Around a sixth of employees couldn’t resist having a peek, despite the checking of non-work emails being strictly forbidden for government workers. Those who clicked on the message will be forced to sit through a two hour course on internet security.

It remains to be seen whether this kind of extreme approach to user security awareness-raising and education will do the trick, but it’s certainly a novel way to keep the staff on their toes.

"This is an extreme example of educating employees in the importance their actions have in maintaining an organisation's security stance, however it does reinforce the point that employees' actions are critical in maintaining security to avoid the introduction of malware onto networks,” said Check Point’s UK MD, Terry Greer-King. "Obviously this was quite a harsh lesson in security practice, but it shows that internet usage and security policies alone are not enough to ensure appropriate behaviour, and there needs to be active reinforcement of those policies."

The scandal in question, which has been doing the rounds in Taiwan for several months, involves 27-year-old playboy and socialite Justin Lee, who allegedly drugged and sexually assaulted scores of local models and actresses.

Prosecutors are currently investigating the case, according to AFP. ®

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