James Linton (hacker)
|Occupation||Email threat researcher|
|Known for||Email pranks|
James Linton is a social engineer and email prankster known for duping high-profile celebrities and politicians. For five months in 2016 through to 2017, the "lazy anarchist" known by the Twitter alias SINON_REBORN created over 150 look-alike email accounts and emailed high-profile individuals in the political, financial, and entertainment industries from his iPhone 7.
Linton is a former designer and front end web developer. He was suspended from his job when his bosses suspected he was emailing victims at work. He lives in Manchester UK with his partner and three cats.
He revealed his identity to the media in September 2017 and later became a threat researcher and speaker for email security firm Agari.
In May 2017, Linton began his spree with Jes Staley, CEO of Barclays as chairman John McFarlane, who he pranked with an acrostic alluding to whistleblower investigation. Days later, he sent sexist remarks to Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England and an invitation to a fake soiree. This led to a tightening of Barclay's email security procedures.
Shortly after, he tricked Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs into making a dig at president Trump, Citigroup banking chiefs Michael Corbat and Stephen Bird with links to his previous pranks then and corresponded with James Gorman, CEO of Morgan Stanley with a story about catching a salmon.
In August, he targeted the White House. Posing as Jared Kushner he tricked a senior cyber security advisor into his authenticity, taunted then media chief Anthony Scaramucci as ex chief of staff Reince Priebus just before he was fired, invited US Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert to a soiree, and joked with Eric Trump about his dad's similarities to Putin. Personal lawyer to Donald Trump Michael Cohen was persuaded to tweet a photograph with a hidden gif and Jared Kushner's lawyer Abbe Lowell incorrectly forwarded a request from the senate intelligence committee asking about Kushner's undisclosed private email account to a fake account. Lawyer Ty Cobb and press secretary Sarah Sanders corresponded, joking about droning journalist Natasha Bertrand.
Later in August, Breitbart editors Alex Marlow and Joel Pollak commented they would do Steve Bannon's 'dirty work' to fake a Steve Bannon account, ousting Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump and shared a personal smear about their private lives.
Later in October, he targeted Shark Tank personality Robert Herjavec as the company CEO, inviting him to a toga party. Later the fake account was copied into official financial projection documents.
In late October, UK National Cyber Security Centre technical director Dr Ian Levy was targeted with a fake industry event, however Levy correctly identified the unexpected link to mail.com. Linton was then asked by Levy to co-write a blog about the experience.
- Kevin Spacey, American actor, producer, and singer
- Alan Stewart, CFO Tesco as John Allan, CEO Tesco
- Dennis Muilenburg, CEO, Boeing as Ed Liddy, Board Member of Boeing
- Norman Tebbit, UK Politician as Boris Johnson, then Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. Fake Johnson told Tebbit to "go fuck yourself".
- Jessica Shears, UK Love Island reality TV star
- James Woods Hollywood actor and producer
- Ezra Levant, CEO of Rebel Media
- Tucker Carlson and Brian Kilmeade of Fox News
- emailprankster.com - Personal site
- Schlagenhauf, Wes (8 November 2017). "One of the best online pranksters of all time is hanging up his keyboard". Retrieved 10 April 2020.
- Mac, Ryan (7 November 2017). "This Man Pranked Eric Trump And Harvey Weinstein — Now He Just Wants A Job". Retrieved 10 April 2020.
- Jeffries, Adrianne (4 August 2017). "How to prank the rich and powerful without really trying". Retrieved 10 April 2020.
- Stokel-Walker, Chris (28 September 2017). "Revealed: The real identity of prankster king SINON_REBORN". Retrieved 6 April 2020.
- Scammell, Robert. "Linton Reborn How the Email Prankster Became a Cyber Crimefighter". Retrieved 6 April 2020.
- Treanor, Jill (12 May 2017). "Barclays boss Jes Staley fooled into email exchange with prankster". Retrieved 10 April 2020.
- Allen, Katie (23 May 2017). "Bank of England governor falls for email prank but maintains his composure". Retrieved 10 April 2020.
- Post Staff Report (22 May 2017). "Barclays tightens email security after prankster fools its CEO". Retrieved 21 April 2020.
- Arnold, Martin (22 May 2017). "Barclays tightens email security after Jes Staley hoax". Retrieved 21 April 2020.
- Martin, Ben (22 May 2017). "Barclays tightens email security to prevent hoaxes after boss fell for fake chairman prankster". Retrieved 21 April 2020.
- Hughes, Laura (6 June 2017). "Diane Abbott appears to fall victim to a hoax email conversation with online prankster". Retrieved 6 April 2020.
- Sonenshine, Jacob (12 June 2017). "Goldman CEO gets duped by email prankster". Retrieved 10 April 2020.
- English, Carleton (14 June 2017). "Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman falls for email prank". Retrieved 10 April 2020.
- Booth, Robert (1 August 2017). "Prankster says he targeted Scaramucci over mental health insult". Retrieved 10 April 2020.
- Tapper, Jake (1 August 2017). "White House officials tricked by email prankster". Retrieved 10 April 2020.
- Farhi, Paul (28 September 2017). "Email hoax comes back to haunt Jared Kushner's attorney". Retrieved 10 April 2020.
- Bertrand, Natasha (7 September 2017). "Trump lawyer Ty Cobb, fooled by 'email prankster,' asks for 'drone' in private emails slamming reporter". Retrieved 10 April 2020.
- Booth, Robert (9 August 2017). "Amber Rudd latest to fall victim to email hoaxer using fake account". Retrieved 10 April 2020.
- Darcy, Oliver (22 August 2017). "Emails: Breitbart editor pledges to do 'dirty work' for Bannon, smears Ivanka". Retrieved 10 April 2020.
- Rubino, Kathryn (5 October 2017). "It Happened AGAIN — Another Biglaw Partner Falls For Internet Prank". Retrieved 10 April 2020.
- Digg Team (10 October 2017). "Email Prankster Strikes Again, Fooling Harvey Weinstein And His Legal Team". Retrieved 10 April 2020.
- Levy, Ian (30 October 2017). "The serious side of pranking". Retrieved 6 April 2020.
- Braue, David (20 September 2019). "If Scott Morrison emails you, check the header". Retrieved 10 April 2020.
- Gray, Jasmin (1 August 2017). "Anthony Scaramucci Sent Some Seriously Bizarre Emails To A Prankster Pretending To Be Reince Priebus". Retrieved 10 April 2020.
- "Email Prankster™". Retrieved 10 April 2020.