Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta received an email back in March 2016 that claimed to be from Google and asked him to change his password. Suspecting the email could be a phishing scam, a staffer sent it on to computer technician Charles Delavan and asked him to evaluate. Delavan responded “This is a legitimate email, John needs to change his password immediately.” Unfortunately, Delavan’s “legitimate” was a typo and should have read “illegimate.” Delavan meant that the email was illegimate and Podesta should change his email password at the Google email site, not to click on the link in the message. Clicking on the link in the bogus email apparently opened thousands of Podesta’s emails to Russian hackers.
The New York Times discovered the typo in its investigation of how the Clinton Campaign email hack happened.
A discussion of this typo, which had such serius consequesces, could remind students that it is easy to overlook typos in words that conven even the most critical parts of a text.