‘Too inconvenient’ to adhere to smartphone security measures, says Trump
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According to Politico, US President Donald Trump uses unsecured iPhones for his Tweets and other communications, potentially leaving him exposed to hacking.
Two anonymous White House officials told Politico that Trump uses multiple iPhones for personal use. One of his phones is only for making calls – although it has a camera – while another has the Twitter app and access to news sites. The phones are issued by White House Information Technology and the White House Communications Agency, which is staffed by military officials.
High-ranking politicians and government officials are expected to take standard steps to ensure that their digital communications are secure; Barack Obama reportedly had his stripped-down, military-grade phones examined for suspicious activity every 30 days and regularly exchanged for new phones.
However, according to Politico’s sources, Trump has gone five months without having his Twitter and news phone checked.
While White House staff have warned Trump that this phone should be checked or ‘swapped out’ on a regular basis, Trump reportedly told them that it would be “too inconvenient” to do so. While his stripped-down phones for making calls are replaced regularly, it is not known how frequently these replacements are made.
As awareness grows of the risks associated with lax cybersecurity, the US government has taken measures to clamp down on insecure devices being used for government communications.
After John Kelly – chief of staff at the White House – had his phone hacked while Trump prepared for office, he has overseen a ban on personal phones in the White House in order to protect sensitive information and infrastructure in the White House digital infrastructure from domestic and foreign hostile agents.
The news that Trump may be failing to take basic security measures when it comes to his phone could be seen as hypocritical, given his repeated condemnation of Democratic rival Hillary Clinton for the inappropriate use of a private email server in her former role of Secretary of State. Her missteps, said Trump during his presidential campaign, put “all of America and our citizens in danger, great danger”.
A senior government official told Politico that Trump’s call phones are: “seamlessly swapped out on a regular basis through routine support operations. Because of the security controls of the Twitter phone and the Twitter account, it does not necessitate regular change-out.”
Recently, the Trump administration has come under fire from cybersecurity experts for its abolition of a top cybersecurity post created by the Obama adminstration in response to the growing threat of cyberwarfare.