John Kelly's Personal Cellphone Might Have Been Compromised

Marie Harrington
October 7, 2017

Unknown hackers obtained access to Chief of Staff John Kelly's personal cell phone, potentially as early as last December, three USA government officials told Politico.

The reported breach was discovered after Mr. Kelly turned his phone over to the White House's tech support this summer because it was not working properly.

A White House spokesman said Kelly hadn't used the personal phone often since joining the administration.

The White House said Kelly's phone stopped working previous year and that he has since stopped using it, although officials did not specify when use of the device ended.

Kelly is no longer in possession of the device and it's not yet clear who the perpetrators of the attack were.

According to government officials cited by Politico, it's also unclear "what data might have been accessed [on the device], if any". The IT team found numerous functions of the phone not to be working and deemed it compromised. This person said Kelly relied on his government-issued phone for most communications.

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It's unknown whether foreign governments or hackers could have had access to his communications, including internal White House information.

"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.

Several senior White House staff have come under fire in recent weeks for using private email servers, including the president's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, former chief strategist Steve Bannon and former chief of staff Reince Priebus. "Really the only way to pick up on that is to do forensics on the phone".

The official reportedly did not dispute the Politico report.

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.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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