If you’re in cybersecurity, you can’t help hearing the steady drumbeat of news relating to the risk and vulnerability of mobile phones. Overlay that on top of the fact that the president of the United States has lax security around his mobile phones, and it’s hard not to be alarmed.
When President Barack Obama was elected president, he reportedly implored his team to find a way for him to keep his beloved Blackberry. Instead, his team responded with a military-grade phone that had no microphone, camera, or location tracker. What’s more, it could not make or receive calls. He used it to email and text–consistent with the White House’s stringent electronic security guidelines, according to Politico. As a routine practice, Obama’s phones were examined every 30 days to check for hacking and other suspicious activity.
Fast forward to the current administration. During the Trump transition, the mobile phone of John F. Kelly, White House Chief of Staff, was found to have been hacked. In February, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis cautioned that unsecured devices–phones, exercise trackers, etc–were a risk. Quoting Mattis’s spokeswoman talking to reporters, Politico writes “It’s about electronics, GPS-enabled electronics. You have to also consider the fact that we have been attacked, bases have been attacked. Information is power and our adversaries have used information to plan attacks against us.”
Officials report that President Trump has at least two phones: one capable of making calls that has a camera and microphone; the other loaded with the Twitter app and news sites. According to Politico, aides have tried unsuccessfully to get Trump to change out the Twitter phone on a monthly basis. His resistance stems from not wanting to be inconvenienced, according to an administration official.
I think we’ve heard that one before.
Get the full story at Politico.