Hackers Could Have a Field Day at Mar-a-Lago

ProPublica and Gizmodo do some cyber-sleuthing
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 18, 2017 8:24 AM CDT
Trump's Mar-a-Lago Is an Easy Target for Hackers
President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Some cyber-sleuths from ProPublica and Gizmodo poked around President Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida and other Trump locales and came to an inescapable conclusion: They're easy pickins for hackers. The investigators detected vulnerable WiFi networks, software, printers, servers, and the like, all of which leave open the potential for "any half-decent" hacker to commandeer computers or smartphones and start recording. At Mar-a-Lago, they didn't even go into the club: They parked their boat in a lagoon and pointed an antenna at the club. The story includes two quotes from security experts responding to descriptions of the current security set-ups: "Those networks all have to be crawling with foreign intruders," says Dave Aitel of Immunity, Inc. And, "I’d assume the data is already stolen and systems compromised," per Jeremiah Grossman of SentinelOne.

Trump has entertained world leaders at Mar-a-Lago, though the story notes that he is provided with secure portable equipment when he travels. But he also has famously held sensitive meetings in public places, prompting the Government Accountability Office to launch an investigation into whether the club's systems are secure. That investigation has not been completed, but the ProPublica piece suggests some serious upgrades are in order. A spokesperson for the Trump Organization disagrees, saying the business enterprise follows "cybersecurity best practices." The story's authors did not hack into any systems at Mar-a-Lago, the Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey, or the Trump International Hotel in DC, but they suggested they could have easily done so, in a matter of minutes, had they been so inclined. Read the full story. (More Mar-a-Lago stories.)

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