The White House has denied that Donald Trump’s Twitter account was compromised on October 16th, but Dutch prosecutors have told a different story. The Guardian and the Washington Post report that the Netherlands’ public prosecutor’s office has determined that researcher Victor Gevers really did ‘hack’ Trump’s Twitter account by guessing the President’s password at the time (apparently “maga2020!”). Gevers won’t face charges, however, as his immediate disclosure made him an “ethical hacker” intending to improve security rather than undermine it.
The security expert said he tried to alert US officials and got the attention of the Secret Service, who thanked him for the report. He claimed similar success six years ago, when Trump was reportedly using the password “yourefired.”
The Trump administration hasn’t responded to the latest claim, but Twitter said in a statement to the Post that it had “seen no evidence” to support Gevers or the prosecutors. It added that it had special security measures in place for “high-profile, election-related” Twitter users, including Trump.
Whether or not the prosecutor’s office is accurate, the claims draw attention to the safeguards (or lack thereof) for politicians. As Gevers said in October, a successful password guess would mean Trump wasn’t using two-factor authentication — it would have been trivial for a malicious intruder to hijack the account. That would be a serious issue for any politician, especially in an era when state-sponsored hackers are thriving.