Scottsdale, Arizona-based web company GoDaddy apologized Thursday after an email that promised employees a Christmas bonus in the midst of-related economic troubles 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 apologized," a spokesman 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," GoDaddy said.
Around 500 employees clicked on a December email 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, sends emails purporting to be from 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 troubles linked to the pandemic
for more features.