Donald Trump's refusal to use iPhone security puts him at risk for hacking and surveillance
Although Trump has accused Obama and the FBI of spying on him, he doesn't seem worried about hackers now that he's president.
President Trump is using an unsecured cellphone because stronger security measures would be "too inconvenient," a new report says.
Trump uses two iPhones, one that's only capable of making calls, the other pre-loaded with Twitter and a few select news sites. Neither phone is equipped with the sophisticated security which protected previous presidents from hacking or surveillance, Politico reported on Monday.
Although Trump has accused former President Obama and the FBI of spying on his presidential campaign — with no evidence to support the claims — he doesn't seem concerned that his private communications might be intercepted by foreign bad actors now that he is president. Trump's advisers have tried to convince him to at least swap out the Twitter phone occasionally, but Trump has rebuffed them because it would be "too inconvenient," Politico quotes an administration official as saying.
During his terms, Obama turned in his phone every 30 days so it could be examined for signs of hacking. But Trump has gone as long as five months without turning his phone over for examination, and it's not clear how often the call-capable devices are swapped out. A senior administration official said Trump's call-capable 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."
Additionally, Obama's phones did not contain a camera or a microphone. Trump's do, creating two more avenues for potential hackers to exploit.
Refusing to follow the precedent for secure devices leaves the president's private communications vulnerable, experts say. "Foreign adversaries seeking intelligence about the U.S. are relentless in their pursuit of vulnerabilities in our government’s communications networks, and there is no more sought-after intelligence target than the president of the United States," Nate Jones, former director of counterterrorism on the National Security Council in the Obama administration, told Politico.
During the 2016 presidential race, Donald Trump made a major campaign issue out of Hillary Clinton's use of an unsecured email server during her time as Secretary of State. "Her server was easily hacked by foreign governments, perhaps even by her financial backers in communist China — sure they have it — putting all of America and our citizens in danger, great danger," Trump said in June 2016, calling her "the most corrupt person ever to run for president."