Fake news releases emailed to various media outlets earlier this week falsely announced the deaths of California senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer along with the demise of senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, Kay Hutchison of Texas, and Patrick Leahy of Vermont.
The releases announced that the senators had died of liver cancer.
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The emails looked like official releases sent by aides from the senators' offices. The unidentified culprits used a hacking trick called spoofing, which made the message look like it is coming from one source while hiding its true origin.
However, according to the New York Times, government computers were not hacked. A close look at the header of the messages shows that the emails did not originate from the Senate computer system but from an outside domain.
All of the senators are alive and well.
U.S. Capitol Police are looking into the emails.