Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Mobile Security

10/25/2018
12:07 PM
Scott Ferguson
Scott Ferguson
News Analysis-Security Now
50%
50%

Trump's Numerous iPhones Creating Security Headache – Report

The New York Times reports that President Donald Trump uses up to three different iPhones and that his habits have left his calls open to spying from China and Russia.

President Donald Trump uses up to three different iPhones during the course of the day, and his calling and security habits are so lax that China and Russian spies routinely listen in on his calls to friends and supporters, according to detailed report in the New York Times.

The report claims that Trump uses at least two different iPhones that have been modified by the National Security Agency, but that he insists on using a third iPhone to call his friends and other acquaintances since the smartphone still allows him to store contact information.

The story, published late Wednesday, October 24, is based on anonymous sources who spoke to the Times.

In the story, Times reporters point out that China is taking advantage of Trump's less-than-secure communications to eavesdrop on various conversations and then use that to craft government policy. Right now, the US and China are in the middle of a trade war, and China's leaders are trying to determine how they can influence US decision making.

Russia also appears to have access to these conversations between Trump and his friends, although the report indicates that the country is not running a sophisticated operation compared to the one the Chinese government is conducting.

If true, the report seems to indicate that the NSA and other federal government agencies have a massive BYOD security fail on their hands. As the Times points out, while Trump does not use an unsecured wireless network, the "security of the device ultimately depends on the user, and protecting the president's phones has sometimes proved difficult."

Trump denied the report in typical fashion:

While the NSA has modified two of the three iPhones, Trump has been warned that cellular communications are not safe and the president has been urged to use the secure landline located in his office.

The Times story does note that the NSA did manage to persuade Trump to stop using his pre-presidential Android device, since it's considered less secure. However, the president still insists on balancing three different iPhone throughout the day.

While the story is masterclass in how not to secure end devices within an enterprise -- not to mention the havoc an insider threat can cause -- some have found some humor in the details. For example, the Chinse embassy denied the story in a Tweet, but took aim at the Trump administration's treatment of Huawei, which has run into several problems in the US.

If there's a bright spot in the Times story, it's that the White House security and IT staff can rest easy when it comes to phishing campaigns that target Trump: The president doesn't use email.

Related posts:

— Scott Ferguson is the managing editor of Light Reading and the editor of Security Now. Follow him on Twitter @sferguson_LR.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 7/9/2020
Omdia Research Launches Page on Dark Reading
Tim Wilson, Editor in Chief, Dark Reading 7/9/2020
4 Security Tips as the July 15 Tax-Day Extension Draws Near
Shane Buckley, President & Chief Operating Officer, Gigamon,  7/10/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
The Threat from the Internet—and What Your Organization Can Do About It
The Threat from the Internet—and What Your Organization Can Do About It
This report describes some of the latest attacks and threats emanating from the Internet, as well as advice and tips on how your organization can mitigate those threats before they affect your business. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-15105
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
Django Two-Factor Authentication before 1.12, stores the user's password in clear text in the user session (base64-encoded). The password is stored in the session when the user submits their username and password, and is removed once they complete authentication by entering a two-factor authenticati...
CVE-2020-11061
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
In Bareos Director less than or equal to 16.2.10, 17.2.9, 18.2.8, and 19.2.7, a heap overflow allows a malicious client to corrupt the director's memory via oversized digest strings sent during initialization of a verify job. Disabling verify jobs mitigates the problem. This issue is also patched in...
CVE-2020-4042
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
Bareos before version 19.2.8 and earlier allows a malicious client to communicate with the director without knowledge of the shared secret if the director allows client initiated connection and connects to the client itself. The malicious client can replay the Bareos director's cram-md5 challenge to...
CVE-2020-11081
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
osquery before version 4.4.0 enables a priviledge escalation vulnerability. If a Window system is configured with a PATH that contains a user-writable directory then a local user may write a zlib1.dll DLL, which osquery will attempt to load. Since osquery runs with elevated privileges this enables l...
CVE-2020-6114
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
An exploitable SQL injection vulnerability exists in the Admin Reports functionality of Glacies IceHRM v26.6.0.OS (Commit bb274de1751ffb9d09482fd2538f9950a94c510a) . A specially crafted HTTP request can cause SQL injection. An attacker can make an authenticated HTTP request to trigger this vulnerabi...