News & Politics

'Everybody Is Listening': Tech Expert Explains Why Trump's Reported Unsecured Phone Use Is So Dangerous

Trump spent the entire campaign attacking Hillary Clinton for her unsecured emails. But his behavior doesn't look much better.

Photo Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Daylena S. Ricks

A new report published Monday by Politico found that President Donald Trump's cell phone use may leave him vulnerable to hackers, potentially risking the spread of any sensitive information he communicates.

"This is insane," said Garrett Graff, director of the Aspen Institutes cybersecurity and technology program, on Twitter of the report. "This means everybody is listening."

According to the report, Trump's White House cell phone lacks the security features that would protect his communications. He uses two cell phones, one for tweeting and one for calling people, but he reportedly doesn't follow the recommended practice of changing out the phones every month, as is advised for the president.

Any number of foreign adversaries or non-state actors could be interested in spying on the president's communications. The report does not find any evidence that Trump's devices have been hacked, but it may be difficult to find out if they did.

Unlike those of President Barack Obama, Trump's phones have a camera and microphone, the report says, which could give hackers the ability to monitor his movements. However, the phones' GPS systems are not operable.

Many people noted that Trump's less than stellar execution of best cybersecurity practices is particularly ironic, given his constant campaign attacks against Hillary Clinton for using an unsecured private server to host her emails during her time as secretary of state.

"Good thing he didn't get elected by attacking his opponent's Infosec," Graff wrote. "Oh wait...."

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Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.