President Donald Trump is still using an unsecured Android phone to send his tweets, according to The New York Times.
One security analyst laid out the worst-case hacking scenario that Trump’s unsecured likely Samsung Galaxy S3 could cause.
“There are security risks here, but they are not the obvious ones,” Bruce Schneier wrote on his website on Thursday.
Schneier is a widely respected cryptography expert. He’s a fellow at Harvard Law School, and he’s written several books on information security.
He says the “bigger risk” stemming from Trump’s unsecured Android phone isn’t that the data on it could be stolen, but that a hacker could compromise the device and turn it into a presidential spying machine.
“That Android has a microphone, which means that it can be turned into a room bug without anyone’s knowledge,” he wrote. “That’s my real fear.”
Schneier also says a forged email could “easily move the stock market,” and that by using a consumer device, Trump is “at risk from everybody, ranging from lone hackers to the better-funded intelligence agencies of the world.”
While the possibility of a foreign adversary compromising a smartphone and controlling its microphone may sound like science fiction, it’s one that has been taken seriously by people like the whistleblower Edward Snowden, who has said smartphones can be taken over.
Snowden has even asked visitors to stick their smartphones in the refrigerator to block eavesdropping. It’s hard to imagine Trump freezing his old Android device, but given Schneier’s warning, perhaps his staff should consider it.