When President Obama took office back in 2009, the security agencies issued him with a customized version of the BlackBerry 8830, which was eventually replaced by a modified variant of the Samsung Galaxy S4. While the two phones didn’t have much in common, both were modified in a way which would prevent any risk of infections, i.e. most of their features were blocked. These days, less than two months before the President-elect Donald Trump takes office, national cyber security experts are worried about Trump’s smartphone-related habits.
Namely, the President-elect repeatedly stated that he won’t stop being active on Twitter and Facebook after he swears in on January 20th, which is precisely what got security experts worried. Namely, by most accounts, Trump is still using a regular Android phone on a daily basis, and software security professionals apparently don’t put a lot of trust in Android’s ability to protect the privacy of its users. From encryption-related limitations to numerous known exploits which are less complex in nature, Android as a platform is still far from being completely secure. Given Trump’s insistence to stay active on social media, industry experts told The Telegraph that there’s a huge risk of malicious links being forwarded directly to the President.
Martin Alderson, co-founder of phone security firm Codified Security recently told The Telegraph that he’s almost positive Trump will be given a modified phone similar to the one Obama is using, while his social media activity will have to go through someone else. Meaning, Trump likely won’t be able to tweet from a smartphone issued to him by federal agencies as it will probably only support phone calls and limited Internet functionality. As President Obama put it in an interview with Jimmy Fallon earlier this year, the phone he got from the National Security Agency (NSA) is the equivalent of “those play phones” with stickers children get for Christmas. While that was likely a slight exaggeration, it also isn’t far from the truth as most accounts suggest that his Samsung Galaxy S4 is only able to make calls and download a restricted number of apps from the Defense Information Systems Agency’s online store. In other words, it doesn’t support regular Internet browsing, texts, taking pictures, playing music, and most other things we love about our smartphones.