Will the defendant please rise? Utah State Bar hunts for sender of topless email

Mormons miffed by mammary missive

By Kieren McCarthy in San Francisco

Posted in Security, 8th March 2018 20:30 GMT

The Utah State Bar in America is investigating how a picture of a topless woman appeared in an email sent to all its members earlier this week.

There was little to alert lawyers about what they were about to see when the email, titled "2018 Spring Convention Walk-Ins Welcome! Learn How!", popped up in inboxes.

Those who did open it were in for a surprise however when, instead of receiving attendance information on the association's convention, they were greeted by a pair of perky private parts.

It didn't take long for members to react.

At 1432, one recipient, Chase Thomas, tweeted: "If you recently got an email from the Utah Bar, be careful opening it! There may or may not be a naughty picture in it… Guessing they got hacked?"

Another posted a titillating screengrab of the email, cut off before anything too revealing appeared.

At 1435, the association tweeted: "Apologies to all who received an inappropriate email from the Utah State Bar. We are aware of the situation and are investigating the matter."

And shortly after, a second email was sent to everyone in the organization from IT director Lincoln Mead, apologizing for the "offensive image" and promising an investigation. Utah State Bar executive director John Baldwin also chimed in: "We are horrified," he said in a statement. "We are investigating to discover how this occurred. Our goal is to find out what happened and ensure it never happens again.”

So, um, how?

As to how that investigation is proceeding, we reached out to the organization's communications director, Matt Page, on Thursday morning and he told us it was still ongoing.

Having initially suggested it may have been hacked, the association has now admitted that the email was created in-house and that to the breast of their knowledge no one was aware of the image when it was previewed before being sent out.

The association has promised it will release its findings to members when the inquiry is complete. Meanwhile, someone in IT is rapidly scrubbing a browser history…

Update: After this story was filed, the Utah State Bar Commission issued a statement about the incident.

"The inappropriate email mistakenly sent by the Utah State Bar Monday was the result of human error and not caused by a malicious attack," the group said. “We have determined a link to the inappropriate image was inadvertently added to the email as a result of human error. That error is being addressed as a personnel issue.”

The image was not contained on a Bar database or system and the image contained no malware, according to the Commission.

“We are taking steps to assure this type of problem doesn’t happen again,” the group said. “We apologize again for this incident and have committed to improving controls over our communications.” ®

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