Is Trump Still Using an Uprotected Phone In Office?
Last year Donald Trump was criticised for using an unsecure iPhone for presidential business, and not adhering to the correct security protocols to prevent malware infection.
The Washington Post alleged that President Trump has been warned not to use his personal phone in case it is hacked, but he still carries it, and makes calls via mobile networks that can theoretically be tapped.
Some aides had complained that Trump has a “casual approach” to cybersecurity, according to the article, despite the very credible risk that foreign governments could be listening in on his iPhone calls or attempting to infect his device with viruses or malware.
Prior to becoming president, Donald Trump was assumed to be something of a technophobe. He has been pictured reading printouts from the internet, rather than reading the web pages on a screen. He also allegedly replies to emails by writing on printed copies of messages.
But he is famously a fan of social media, and appears to write at least some of his tweets himself.
When he originally took up office, he retained his ageing Android phone, a Samsung Galaxy S3, much to the dismay of security analysts. The phone was inherently insecure because it could not receive the latest software updates.
He continued to use this phone well into his presidency.
According to officials, Trump now has two specially modified iPhones that have restricted features. These may be similar to the heavily modified iPhone that President Obama was given late in his presidency; he was previously restricted to using a BlackBerry.
Neither of Trump’s official iPhones can store contacts, which is allegedly one of the reasons why he still carries his personal handset around.
We Are All Targets
As hacking targets go, the President of the United States is arguably the most high-profile in the world. That makes his lax approach to security even more surprising, and clearly some White House staff feel that virus or malware infection is a very real risk.
Intelligence reports suggest that Chinese and Russian agents may still be tapping in to Trump’s iPhone calls in order to influence his decision-making and understand which of his contacts he trusts. Despite using locked-down hardware, this is plausible.
Even Trump cannot be completely protected from the dangers of hacking, despite having practically unlimited security resources at his disposal. Even though his iPhones have been restricted as much as is practical, the operating system could still be attacked using as-yet undiscovered exploits, and phone calls could still be intercepted over mobile networks, simply because they are not transmitted on secure lines. US security teams even avoid cloning his devices in case hidden malware is transferred between them.
Few of us need to worry about having our phone lines tapped, but the issue is still important. Trump’s iPhone usage draws attention to the fact that all devices are theoretically vulnerable, even when we assume they are safe.
On every device you own, be sure to have the right malware and virus protection in place. And to secure sensitive transactions, consider installing a good quality Antivirus and VPN.