In 2016, Donald Trump made a lot of noise about the importance of taking cybersecurity seriously as President of the United States. He electrified his base with relentless chants of “Lock her up!” as he tried to warn that Hillary Clinton’s alleged gross negligence when using technology would create major security risks for America. In the meantime, an alarming hack just came to light that reminds us how Trump is the real security threat.
Victor Gevers, a Dutch security researcher, announced that he hacked into Trump’s @realDonaldTrump Twitter account earlier this month with unusual ease, according to a report from de Volkskrant. By simply guessing the password (“maga2020!”), Gevers managed to gain full access without anyone’s knowledge or permission. This put Gevers in the position of being able to impersonate the President of the United States by changing Trump’s profile, accessing his direct messages (DMs), and even tweeting in a way that could cause confusion and chaos.
After trying for days to alert the White House about this serious security loophole, Gevers was finally contacted by the Secret Service. His efforts apparently triggered a change in Trump’s password and the adoption of Twitter’s highly recommended two-factor authentication. Despite the reports, White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere told The Verge on Thursday that Gevers’ hacking claim story was “absolutely not true” while noting that he can’t comment on presidential security measures.
Gevers, in the meantime, was smart enough to take a screenshot to prove his access, which you can view here, courtesy of Vrij Nederland. The fact that the President of the United States’ Twitter account was so vulnerable to hacking is bad enough. But even crazier is the fact that Gevers hacked into Trump’s account four years ago (just before the 2016 election)—and when alerting authorities about that earlier hack, he suggested “maga2020!” as a new password. According to TechCruch, Gevers “did not expect” to use that very password to hack back into the account years later, after Trump became President.
This hack exposes the alarmingly sloppy way Trump has treated his Twitter account’s security since taking office, using obvious passwords and being too lazy to turn on two-factor authentication. Fortunately, the hack was achieved by a researcher and not an enemy of the United States aiming to cause serious harm. The incident is yet another reminder that Trump is a hypocrite and a sloth who can’t be trusted to safeguard anything. Let’s plug this unacceptable security breach once and for all by electing Biden-Harris on November 3.