The White House has reason to believe that John Kelly’s personal cellphone may have been compromised in President Donald Trump’s transition headquarters in late 2016. Kelly reported that after entering the transition office space, his phone stopped working properly, so officials have been trying to find out whether the phone was accessed by a hacker or maybe a foreign government.
They have not yet determined whether the Chief of Staff signed in to an insecure wireless network or an outside force accessed his phone. What they know for now is that the breach happened in the transition building, where some of Trump’s staff worked before his inauguration. Other possibilities include Kelly’s trips abroad, though there is no evidence supporting that.
By discovering the exact location of the breach it could be determined whether other members of staff’s devices were compromised as well. At this moment, it is still uncertain what information might have been retrieved from Kelly’s phone.
In response to these developments, new rules on personal devices were weighed by the White House, one of which would be to ban them from the president’s residence. Personal electronic devices of this kind will also be stored in secure lockers added to the building.
Kelly’s personal cellphone was turned in to the White House months after it had been compromised raising concerns that the data could have been misused by foreign governments or hackers. The National Security Agency issued a warning to White House staff not to use their devices for government business as they could easily be turned into listening devices without their knowledge.
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were among the White House advisers using their personal e-mails to conduct government business, reports Politico.