National Security

Trump Never Stopped Using Insecure Phones

Written by SK Ashby

Trump is still using insecure cell phones every day according to a new report from Politico and it's not his Twitter phone that is considered to be especially vulnerable.

While the phones he uses for tweeting and making phone calls could both be vulnerable, the phone he uses to place phone calls may be the bigger target because features that are usually disabled on secure phones are still present.

While aides have urged the president to swap out the Twitter phone on a monthly basis, Trump has resisted their entreaties, telling them it was “too inconvenient,” the same administration official said. [...]

Trump’s call-capable cellphone has a camera and microphone, unlike the White House-issued cellphones used by Obama. Keeping those components creates a risk that hackers could use them to access the phone and monitor the president’s movements. The GPS location tracker, however — which can be used to track the president’s whereabouts — is disabled on Trump’s devices.

If Trump has never stopped using insecure phones, and if he continues to use them after this report, there's a significant chance the phones have already been compromised or soon will be.

I am immediately reminded of the report that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) detected unauthorized stringray devices in the Washington D.C. area that are capable of intercepting or tracking phone calls. Those devices were believed to have been operated by a foreign government, but a culprit was never identified.

I never thought I'd say this, but the idea that foreign governments are listening to Trump is actually kind of reassuring. Knowing what to expect from him before he announces it publicly could be stabilizing.