Hackers May Have Had Access to John Kelly's Phone for Months
07 October, 2017, 00:40 | Author: Malcolm Fuller
A White House spokesperson said Kelly hadn't used the phone "often" since joining the administration, which implies he still kept it around some of the time. Kelly only reported to White House IT staff that his phone "hand't been working properly for months" in the summer.
Politico reported, citing three unnamed USA government officials, that Kelly's personal cell phone was compromised potentially as early as December 2016.
The phone may have been compromised as far back as December 2016, Politico reports.
The White House is concerned about what information might have been exposed, with a research fellow at a Canadian university stressing the potential seriousness.
The official, "who did not dispute any of Politico's reporting" on the matter, said Kelly did not have the phone anymore - but would not say where it was now. The IT team found numerous functions of the phone not to be working and deemed it compromised.
It's unclear why Kelly spent so long with a messed up phone, and what data if any would have been obtained from the device.
Senior research fellow at the University of Toronto Bill Marczak said that in the worst-case scenario, a hacker could potentially gain full access to a phone, even enabling them to use the device's camera or microphone.
"The [attackers] I would be most anxious about are nation-states or other actors who may have access to resale of commercial spyware sold to nation-states", Bill Marczak, Citizen Lab senior research fellow told Politico. According to the White House IT department, which analysed the device for several days, several functions on Kelly's phone were not working properly. "The average user won't notice anything at all".
Just after he was inaugurated as president, there were concerns that Donald Trump was still using his old, unsecured Samsung Galaxy S3 to send out tweets.
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