- President Donald Trump reportedly uses unsecured phones for White House business, rather than encrypted phone services intended for top government officials, according to a recent Washington Post report.
- Business Insider spoke to cybersecurity experts about how hackers can gain access to phone conversations on unsecured devices.
- Unsecured phones are an easy target for hackers, according to the experts, who said they are “so easy to hack it’s scary.”
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
President Donald Trump made Hillary Clinton’s use of private email servers a hallmark of his campaign, but the president himself regularly conducts phone calls using unsecured devices, according to a new report from The Washington Post.
Call records released as part of the impeachment inquiry into Trump show that he and his top advisors routinely used unsecured phones for White House business, a fact that several unnamed administration officials confirmed to the Post. Top government officials typically use encrypted phone services to protect calls or texts from being intercepted by hackers.
To put that revelation in context, Business Insider spoke to cybersecurity experts about the risks associated with unsecured phones.
Alex Heid, chief technology officer of Security Scorecard, said that unencrypted phone services are exceptionally easy to hack.
“In some cases, it’s as simple as walking into a cell phone tower, plugging in a laptop, and downloading everything,” Alex Heid said. “It’s generally so easy to hack its scary.”
Kiersten Todt, managing director of the Cyber Readiness Institute and a former cybersecurity advisor to the Obama Administration, said that gaining access to unsecured phone activity is well within the capabilities of sophisticated hackers.
“With enough time and focus, which we know that many malicious actors have, it’s certainly doable,” Todt said.
Here’s a breakdown of how hackers can gain access to unsecured phone activity and how encryption can protect against hacks, according to experts.