Despite warning from staff, experts, and even the US Secret Service, reports are that President Trump has started again using his personal smart phone. The android-based phone, while modern, has a lot of vulnerabilities that would be nothing short of a hacker’s wet dream.
From the New York Times “Mr. Trump’s wife, Melania, went back to New York on Sunday night with their 10-year-old son, Barron, and so Mr. Trump has the television — and his old, unsecured Android phone, to the protests of some of his aides — to keep him company.”
Even his Tweets have started again pointing to that he’s using his Android device.
Ignoring that no President should be carrying any electronic device that hasn’t been approved and fully monitored by the US Secret Service, some simple exploits could easily turn Trump’s phone into a national security nightmare by turning on the camera and microphone.
Even if he is using the phone only for angry tweets, any foreign power with minimal expertise in hacking could easily spy on the President during some of his most sensitive meetings with world leaders and national security staff.
“President Obama was given a phone modified for his personal use, limited to making phone,” says Martin Alderson, co-founder of mobile security company Codified Security.
President Obama was given that special phone made specifically by the NSA, that only had a few restricted apps that were monitored by the NSA for any possible intrusion, and validated by the Defense Information Systems Agency’s store.
The phone that Obama got, as he put it, was something that looked like it was made for kids. No camera, no microphone and was “hardened” to prevent tracking.
The worse part of using this phone is the danger to POTUS himself: it could be used to track where he is up to the minute, making any security plans that the Secret Service prepared ahead almost useless. Since President Trump seems to be on his phone a lot, especially at night while watching cable TV, it’s possible that during this time someone could get him to easily click on a link where a program could be installed on his phone.
Twitter itself isn’t a secure platform, and the very program opens up entire vulnerabilities that bypass entire security measures that were installed in the White House. If it’s using Wifi, it’s bypassing possible firewalls, and if its using an unsecured Wireless Connection, it’s bypassing everything.
The number of critical vulnerabilities on his choice platform Android, such as Stagefright, TowelRoot, and Quadrooter, show that Android is a poor choice for anyone in his position, especially someone who isn’t that technically inclined.
From there almost anything could be done: including possibly overcharging his battery and causing it to explode. We’ve heard of it happening many times to people without warning, it would only assume that a smart hacker from an enemy power could figure how to do it.
What is the risk to National Security? As President Trump would put it: Yuuuuge. It’s worse than any Clinton Email Server, and must be ended immediately.