Trump’s proposed ‘cyber tsar’ and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has been hacked. A Channel 4 Investigation has revealed that the passwords of Trump’s cyber-security adviser and 13 prospective government officials, including cabinet members, have “been leaked in mass hacks”.
The investigation discovered the passwords of those 14 top officials as well as those of their aides, publiclly available online.
Giuliani announced that he would become the new regime’s cyber tsar last week on Fox News morning talk show, Fox & Friends. A statement from Trump’s organisation gave a broad approximation as to what role a cyber tsar might have. Giuliani will apparently be “sharing his expertise and insight as a trusted friend concerning private sector cyber-security problems and emerging solutions developing in the private sector”. Last year Giuliani assumed the chair of ‘the cyber-security, privacy and risk management practice’ at law firm Greenberg Traurig.
Rudy Giuliani was far from the only prospective government official who was caught in these hacks. According to Channel 4, a number of others were also affected who expected to take office tomorrow as Trump is inaugurated as President of the United States. Affected individuals include the prospective secretary for the interior Ryan Zinke, secretary for labour Andy Putzer, press secretary Sean Spicer, director of the Domestic Policy Council Andrew Bremberg, director of the National Trade Council Peter Navarro, head of social media Dan Scavino, chief trade negotiator Jason Greenblatt and director of Oval Office operations Kevin Schiller, among others.
Nor was this the first time that hacking has characterised a moment in Donald Trump’s ascent to the presidency. Throughout the election season, several incidents of high profile breaches on the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign lay open questions that are still being hotly debated to this day.
All 17 of the US intelligence agencies have concluded that the Russian government attempted to interfere in the election.
Despite that legacy, it appears as though those close to the election have not learnt their lessons. Lee Munson, security researcher at Comparitech.com told SC that, apparently, “many of Trump’s staff have reportedly been using the same password across a number of different accounts”.
“While such behaviour is, alas, common among the entire internet population, senior White House personnel and cyber tsars really ought to know better.”
Munson added, “Not only that, the fact that some of the passwords appear to have come from sites such as MySpace may suggest that dormant, no longer wanted accounts have been allowed to remain active which, itself, is also something of a security howler from people who should know better.”