February 22, 2018

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly's phone was compromised for months

07 October 2017, 12:39 | Kara Nash

Trump's chief of staff John Kelly's cellphone has been 'compromised' by hackers or foreign government: report

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly turned the phone over to IT staffers during the summer complaining that it had not been operating properly for months sources told Politico

White House chief of staff John Kelly's personal phone was likely compromised, possibly for months, according to several government officials Politico interviewed.

He became White House chief of staff in July.

Three unspecified U.S. officials told Politico that Kelly's phone may have been compromised as long ago as December 2016.

The report states Kelly first notified White House tech support in the summer that his phone had not been working properly, and the staff later investigated and said the device had been compromised.

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.

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

Politico reported, citing three unnamed USA government officials, that Kelly's personal cell phone was compromised potentially as early as December 2016.

According to a White House spokesman, Kelly had not used the personal phone much since starting his role in the administration, mainly using his government-issued phone for work. Android phones are relatively easier to hack than iPhone devices due to the nature of the underlying software. Prior to that, he served as the Trump administration's secretary of homeland security.

It's unclear how bad the hack is, or where Kelly's phone was infected with the malware.

Advisers Stephen Miller and Gary Cohn, as well as former officials Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon, were also reported to have used their personal email accounts for government correspondence.

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