The subject is nothing new. And to prove it, we just go back a little bit in time, when Barack Obama he was still president of the United States. In the year 2013, we reported that the White House commander could not use an iPhone for security reasons.
He even had an iPhone in his second term, but he couldn't make calls and could only receive emails from a special address that was given to a select group of employees and close people. The device also had no camera or microphone and could not be used to download any application. Sending text messages was prohibited as there was no way to collect and store messages (something required by the Presidential Records Act).
Since then, a lot has changed in the technological scenario, but this has remained basically the same: the US president is still unable to use the device he wants (be it an iPhone or an Android) because of security-related issues, according to with a report from The New York Times. Donald TrumpHowever, it is not a common president, who usually respects all the rules of the game. Result? Due to his stubbornness, he may be being spied on by Chinese and Russians by choosing not to give up his personal iPhone.
According to the story, Trump talks to old friends (whether to gossip, complain or listen to opinions) using one of his iPhones. So, nothing much, right? If it weren't for the fact that Chinese and Russians are supposed to be listening to such conversations, according to reports from American intelligence. The purpose of this clear espionage: use the insights in order to understand what is the best way to work and negotiate with the American president (USA and China are facing each other in a commercial war like that).
The idea is to understand how he thinks, what arguments tend to influence him and whom he is inclined to listen to. In this way, the Chinese have put together a list of people with whom Trump speaks regularly in hopes of using them to influence the president. How? In a very simplistic way, approaching friends of these people. Russia, for its part, would not be making as much of an effort as China because of Trump's apparent affinity with President Vladimir Putin.
Apparently, Trump's advisers have repeatedly warned him that his cell phone calls are not secure, indicating that both Chinese and Russians tend to spy on such calls. Even though he has been pressured to use his White House landline phone more often (than more secure) today, Trump still refuses to hand over his iPhones. Thus, his team is just cheering for him to not discuss confidential matters when using such devices.
Still according to the newspaper, China's effort is a 21st century version of what the authorities have been doing for decades: trying to influence American leaders by cultivating an informal network of prominent entrepreneurs and academics who can ?buy? ideas and in order to take them home White. The difference now is that, when listening to Trump's calls, the Chinese have a much clearer idea of ??who exerts the greatest influence and which arguments tend to work.
The case was reported to the The New York Times not for cheating on part of the Trump team or anything. According to the newspaper, which did not disclose the names of the sources in order to protect them (due to the confidential information that was discussed), all of this was shared not to harm the president, but out of frustration with the president's casual approach to electronic security.
O setup presidential
According to the authorities, the president has two official iPhones that have been changed by the National Security Agency to limit his resources and vulnerabilities; a third personal phone exactly the same as the one available on the market, without any modifications. And Trump keeps that personal phone because, unlike others, he can store his contacts on it.
But is the iPhone safe? Doesn't Apple brag about that? Well, there's not much to do when calls are intercepted while traveling through cell towers, cables and switches that make up the national and international cellular telephone networks. Any device (iPhone, Android or even a very old ?dumb? cell phone) is vulnerable. The fact that Trump insisted on having his devices more capable and not as capped as the one Obama used. He even agreed to give up his Android during the election campaign (the The New York Times affirmed in all words that Google's operating system is considered more vulnerable than Apple's) and, since becoming president, has agreed to have two official phones: one to use Twitter and other applications; and one for connections.
An interesting point is that he does not use email (which negates the possibility of an attack phishing such as those used by Russian intelligence to gain access to Democratic Party emails) and do not exchange text messages (feature disabled on their official phones). You will see, precisely because he did not use emails, he attacked Hillary Clinton (his opponent in the presidential campaign) several times for using an insecure email server while he was still State Secretary (messages that ended up leaking).
Your device that has Twitter installed can only connect to the internet via Wi-Fi and it rarely has access to wireless networks without security. But in the end, the security of the device depends on the user, and the protection of the president's phones often proves to be difficult. Proof of this is that he should change the two official iPhones every 30 days, but he rarely does so because of the inconvenience (members of the White House team must configure the new phones exactly like the old ones, but the new iPhones cannot be restored at from backups of iPhones in use as this could transfer some malware together).
It is also worth mentioning that this type of espionage is not something unknown or only practiced by countries like China and Russia. The United States uses the same technique to try to intercept conversations from leaders of other countries for nothing that the presidents of China and Russia avoid using cell phones whenever possible.
Of course, the president was not going to let this matter pass, so he tried to deny everything:
The New York Times has a new Fake Story that now the Russians and Chinese (glad they finally added China) are listening to all of my calls on cellphones. Except that I rarely use a cellphone, & when I do its government authorized. I like Hard Lines. Just more made up Fake News!
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 25, 2018
O New York Times published a new fake story that now the Russians and the Chinese (glad they now added China) are listening to all my calls on cell phones. The problem is that I rarely use a cell phone and, when I do, authorized by the government. I like landlines. That s more fake news invented!
The problem that he published such tweet iPhone, of course.
Danielle Rhoades Ha, vice president of corporate communications at New York Times, said: "We are confident in the accuracy of our reports and we will let the story speak for itself."
Luna LinkedIn, do Washington Post, shared a ?response? from the Chinese government on the subject:
China spokeswomen Hua Chunying on the NYT Trump iPhone tapping story: "If they are very worried about iPhones being tapped, they can use Huawei." pic.twitter.com/lZ48beuA7e
– Luna Lin (@LunaLinCN) October 25, 2018
Hua Chunying, a spokesman for China, on the story of Trump's iPhone from NYT: "If they are very concerned about iPhones being spied on, they can use a Huawei."
Definitely the world is not the same
via The Verge; Gizmodo: 1, 2; CNET