President Trump’s Twitter account was reportedly hacked last week after a Dutchman correctly guessed the password: “maga2020!”
According to Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant, security expert Victor Gevers produced the password on his fifth attempt. But the fact that he was allowed a fifth attempt at alarmed him. “I expected to be blocked after four failed attempts,” he told de Volksrant. “Or at least would be asked to provide additional information.”
One would think the man who made a hubbub over Hillary Clinton’s emails in 2016 would at least have 2-factor verification setup. Alas, Gevers allegedly had access to Trump’s direct messages and could tweet, edit the profile, and alter settings with ease. He proceeded to contact American security agencies and suggested that Trump implement stronger safeguards, including a longer password (Gevers’s suggestion: “!IWillMakeAmericaGreatAgain2020!”).
From de Volksrant:
Gevers took screenshots when he had access to Trump’s account. These screenshots were shared with de Volkskrant by the monthly opinion magazine Vrij Nederland. Dutch security experts find Gevers’ claim credible.
The Dutchman alerted Trump and American government services to the security leak. After a few days, he was contacted by the American Secret Service in the Netherlands. This agency is also responsible for the security of the American President and took the report seriously, as evidenced by correspondence seen by de Volkskrant. Meanwhile Trump’s account has been made more secure.
According to Gevers, two days after he rang the alarm, was contacted by the Secret Service, who thanked him for bringing the issue to their attention. Two-step verification was then implemented on Trump’s Twitter account.
But he remained puzzled as to how this happened in the first place. “Why is it possible for someone from a different time zone to log into such an important account?” Gevers said. “Why doesn’t Twitter demand better passwords? If I can access his account, then foreign nations can do so as well, right? Why aren’t the persons who are supposed to protect the President informed when someone reports that his account is unsafe?”
But on Thursday, Twitter denied the hack ever occurred. Twitter’s statement reads: “We’ve seen no evidence to corroborate this claim, including from the article published in the Netherlands today. We proactively implemented account security measures for a designated group of high-profile, election-related Twitter accounts in the United States, including federal branches of government.”
Still, high-profile Twitter accounts are hacked all the time, including the accounts of so-called “election-related” individuals. Back in July, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s Twitter account was hacked thanks to a cryptocurrency scam. Twitter’s security measures are clearly not as solid as they claim.
Gevers already hacked Trump’s account once before: In 2016, Gevers and two other Dutch hackers allegedly managed to log into then candidate-Trump’s Twitter account, back when his password was simply, “yourefired.” It’s anyone’s guess what Trump’s password will become if he loses the upcoming general election, but perhaps “dontsendmetojailtishjames” isn’t a half-bad option.