A Dutch security researcher claims to have gained access to US President Donald Trump's Twitter account just days before the 2020 US election.
As reported by the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant (opens in new tab), security researcher and ethical hacker Victor Gevers claims to have had access to the US President's personal Twitter account last Friday. He took screenshots while signed in as Trump and shared them with the monthly opinion magazine Vrij Nederland which then provided them to the Dutch newspaper.
While Twitter has denied Gevers claims, saying it has "no evidence" the claim is true, Dutch security experts have reviewed them and find them credible. In fact, this is not the first time that the security researcher has been able to access Trump's Twitter account. Back in 2016, Gevers and two other hackers obtained Trump's password and accessed his account.
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This time around though, Gevers was in the process of reviewing the security of verified Twitter accounts (opens in new tab) when he managed to once again access Trump's account.
Using strong, complex and unique passwords for all of your online accounts is highly recommended which is why password managers (opens in new tab) and password generators (opens in new tab) have become increasingly popular among both business users and consumers. Unfortunately though, President Trump didn't get the memo as his Twitter password was incredibly simple and easy to guess, according to Gevers.
Gevers tried to enter a number of different passwords in order to gain access to President Trump's Twitter account. Eventually on the fifth try, he entered “maga2020!” and was shocked to find that he had access to the account. Maga2020, short for Make America Great Again, is quite possibly the worst password Trump could have picked as it is one of his campaign slogans for the 2020 election.
Gevers explained to de Volkskrant that he thought accessing the Twitter account of a sitting US president would have been more difficult, saying: “I expected to be blocked after four failed attempts. Or at least would be asked to provide additional information.”
Following his discovery, Gevers unsuccessfully tried to reach out to Trump's family, campaign team and others via email and Twitter. Instead, two days later, he received an email from the US Secret Service and Gevers shared all of the information he had discovered with them.
Two-step verification (opens in new tab) has now been added to Trump's account and hopefully the incident has convinced the President of the importance of using a strong and complex password for his Twitter account.
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Via de Volkskrant (opens in new tab)