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White House Believes John Kelly's Cellphone Was Hacked, Says Report

07 October 2017

Three U.S. government officials told Politico that Kelly's cell phone may have been hacked as far back as in December, a month before he was appointed the secretary of Homeland Security.

Aides in September prepared a one-page memo on the subject, according to the report, and circulated the document through the White House. However, it is not clear how much data was accessed, exactly when the hack took place and if the hackers have been able to breach cell phones used by other White House staffers.

IT staff inspected the phone for days before determining that it had been compromised. They are also uncertain of what data could have been seen or stolen.

The report states Kelly first notified White House tech support in the summer that his phone had not been working properly, and the staff later investigated and said the device had been compromised.

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In response to the incident with Kelly's phone, the White House has installed additional storage lockers for personal devices in the West Wing. But it turned out that the inability to get himself new Snapchat filters was the least of his worries; the phone was vulnerable to hackers and hostile governments.

Shortly before he left office, the Obama White House was credited with dramatically upgrading the executive branch's technology, including the installation of new computers and faster internet.

The official reportedly did not dispute the Politico report. It's unclear what information may or may not have been exposed through Kelly's phone, but the danger is clear, particularly for a White House staff that has been cavalier about its cyber security hygiene.

Just after he was inaugurated as president, there were concerns that Donald Trump was still using his old, unsecured Samsung Galaxy S3 to send out tweets.

White House Believes John Kelly's Cellphone Was Hacked, Says Report