US web company GoDaddy apologised on Thursday after an e-mail that promised employees a Christmas bonus in the midst of the economic crisis turned out to be a computer security test.
“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 apologised,” a representative for GoDaddy, the largest internet domain management company in the world, told AFP in a statement.
“While the test mimicked real attempts in play today, we need to do better and be more sensitive to our employees,” added the Arizona-based company.
In December, around 500 employees clicked on an e-mail from the company offering a Christmas bonus of $650 and asking them to fill out a form with their personal details.
Two days later, a different message appeared in their inboxes.
"You are receiving this email because you failed our recent phishing test," the email from GoDaddy's security chief read, according to Arizona's Copper Courier newspaper.
The technique of phishing, widely used by computer hackers, sees emails pretending to be a person known to the intended target, with the objective of obtaining information to infiltrate their computer systems.
The test email sparked uproar on social media as millions of Americans have been hit hard by the economic crisis linked to the coronavirus pandemic.