The President’s Twitter account that can allegedly drive the markets, cause boycotts by endorsing a product, and incite international issues was reportedly secured with a private email. That is to say, not very secure. Easily hacked.
Not only that, but this has been an issue since the day of Trump’s inauguration, which was January 20th, contrary to the picture he hung on the gallery to the press hall, which is inaccurately dated January 21st.
It was just fixed Thursday, six whole days after the breech was first noticed.
Before it was fixed, digital strategy expert Ezra Mechaber, who “used to work for @POTUS44 (the good one)”, observed Thursday afternoon that not only is this dangerous in terms of national security, but it is a violation of the Presidential Records Act:
This is extremely dangerous (in the literal national security sense) and also a violation of the Presidential Records Act. https://t.co/zxID3J1Lnu
— Ezra Mechaber (@ezramechaber) January 26, 2017
Alex Wall who “used to run social for @POTUS44 and @ObamaWhiteHouse” and is the Director of Social Media for @HillaryClinton, was alarmed by how irresponsible this was:
— Alex Wall (@AlexBWall) January 26, 2017
On January 20th, self-described hacker @WauchulaGhost warned Trump that his security settings weren’t good:
— WauchulaGhost (@WauchulaGhost) January 21, 2017
Days ago, WauchulaGhost, who has previously gotten into pro-ISIL Twitter accounts, warned President Trump, Vice President Pence, and First Lady Melania Trump that they were more vulnerable to hacking “because of a basic Twitter security setting they’re not using.”
Laurie Segall of CNN reported, “WauchulaGhost contacted me about these insecurities on Saturday. I spent the last three days trying to reach the White House for their response to WauchulaGhost’s claims. I sent multiple emails, including several directly to Dan Scavino, Donald Trump’s head of social media.”
“According to WauchulaGhost, @POTUS, @FLOTUS and @VP are more vulnerable because they haven’t selected a basic security feature on Twitter that requires you to provide a phone number or email address to reset your password. The current security setting for these three accounts allows anyone to click on “forgot password” and type in @FLOTUS, @POTUS or @VP. The next screen says “we found the following information associated with your account” and gives a partially redacted email address to which it will send a password recovery link.”
Okay, so it’s only week one, but really? If the hacker’s report is accurate, how many people have to try to alert the administration that there is a HUGE security problem before they pay attention and take action?
— Nash (@Nash076) January 26, 2017
Finally on Thursday, the administration moved the email address to the proper address:
— Alex Wall (@AlexBWall) January 26, 2017
Phew. But why did it take so long and why doesn’t the director of social media for the White House know these basic things? Maybe this is why a conspiracy theorist golf caddie turned golf club general manager who shares 9/11 truther stories isn’t the best person to put in charge of the President’s Social Media accounts. Only the best people?
President Trump is still using his old 2012 Android phone for Twitter, as revealed by the New York Times on Wednesday, raising security issues for not only his Twitter account but the possibility of being eavesdropped on. BGR pointed out the phone is so old it doesn’t get new security updates.
This theme of reckless carelessness is troubling. Every new administration goes through rocky starts, and certainly the Obama administration faced challenges as well and stumbled coming out of the gate. But they were awake and responsive.
During the contentious 2016 presidential campaign run by Donald Trump, during which he once suggested Hillary Clinton might be shot if she won, he also accused her of endangering the U.S. by exposing national secrets in email.
Now it seems it’s not so easy for Trump to secure even the most basic of security threats.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.