John Kelly's Personal Cellphone Might Have Been Compromised

Kristopher Drake
October 7, 2017

According to a report, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly may have been using a breached phone for months.

John Kelly, who also served as secretary of Homeland Security, gave his phone to the White House tech staff who then determined there was a breach, according to a Politico. Politico doesn't explain why Kelly was bringing his personal phone to be fixed by the government's tech team rather than, let's say, the Genius Bar. The White House did not release any official information on the matter, but it did run a one-page memo in September, which circulated throughout the administration.

The revelation has raised concerns, even within the White House, that malicious hackers or state-backed ones may have been able to eavesdrop on Kelly's cell phone usage and may have listened in to his conversations and read his emails, documents, and texts.

Citing at least three USA government officials, the report said that the phone may have been compromised in December, last year. Before joining the Trump administration, Kelly was a four-star Marine general and headed the United States Southern Command, until his retirement in January 2016. And staffers did indeed find many functions on the phone were't working.

However, "several government officials said it was unclear when - or where - Kelly's phone was first compromised", according to the report. Meanwhile, Kelly's travel schedule, before he joined the White House, is reportedly under review.

"The [attackers] I would be most anxious about are nation-states or other actors who may have access to resale of commercial spyware sold to nation-states", Marczak said. "Really the only way to pick up on that is to do forensics on the phone".

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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