The changing of the guard in leadership in the course of our nation has been a mixture of good will and animosity. A bitter election usually leads to a less than enthusiastic handoff in power. However, from one administration to another, the transfer of power has had a level of respect that has typified the ideal that after the votes are counted, we are one people, Americans.
Not so with this transfer of power from the 44th President of the United States, Barrack Obama, to the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump. Before the dust had settled after the election, there has existed a level of disrespect and animosity from the outgoing administration that has defied history and logic.
Passwords used by Donald Trump’s incoming cybersecurity advisor Rudy Giuliani and 13 other top staff members have been leaked in mass hacks, an investigation revealed. Passwords are publicly available for the leading members of Trump’s cabinet, White House policy directors and aides and some of his most senior advisors.
Digital security issues – including allegations of Russian hacking to try to influence the outcome of the US presidential elections – have dominated the headlines as Trump’s team prepares to take command of the world’s most powerful country. The appointment of Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, has been criticized by people in the cyber security community, who have highlighted exploitable security flaws on his website.
But Giuliani says he has given “over 300 speeches” on digital security and told Fox News earlier this month: “American corporations and the American government is not paying attention to ubiquitous hacking that is now going on.”
Lt Gen Michael Flynn has also been hacked in the past – and some passwords used by the former military intelligence officer has surfaced. He will become President Trump’s national security advisor from Friday; a crucial role stationed inside the White House itself and reporting directly to Trump.
Staff whose accounts also appear to be affected by the hacks in recent years include people such as:
- the Secretary of the Interior
- the Secretary of Labor
- the Press Secretary
- the Director of the Domestic Policy Council
- the Director of the National Trade Council
- Head of Social Media
- Chief Trade Negotiator
- Director of Oval Office Operations
- and many others
The passwords of the appointees were hacked in mass breaches of websites like LinkedIn, MySpace, and others between 2012 and 2016. Personal data and encrypted passwords for services, such for email addresses for Dropbox, were also leaked. The passwords are accessible from original leaks of the data. With some staffers using the same simple passwords for multiple sensitive websites, experts say the hacks may have left them vulnerable to further hacks – perhaps by foreign powers.
The level of the breach of this magnitude could have only been facilitated by a government entity. The Chinese and the Russians, though capable of this violation, would never have released the passwords an analyst familiar with espionage and technology stated, “They would never have let the world know that they could read the mail of these people. They would have waited and monitored and saw what they could harvest and what they could learn.
He went on to state that even though the breach most certainly was someone with a lot of tech invested and assets, intelligence gathering was not the goal of this exercise. “This was totally about embarrassing the Trump Administration, Nothing else.”
Hacks of celebrities – for instance of Twitter accounts or explicit photos – sometimes occurred by hackers using precisely this method of reusing passwords that have already been leaked. Cyber security analyst Troy Hunt, who runs the online service HaveIBeenPwned.com to notify users of data breaches, reported that the leaks could be problematic. Hunt said: “How many passwords have we got that have been reused in different places and are the same as they were five years ago – even a decade ago. We’ve got a long tail of info that we’ve left on the web now.
“The problem here is that a little bit like all of us, we have this propensity to reuse our passwords.
And let’s say someone from Trump’s team has data leaked and it appears on a totally unrelated forum somewhere, and someone takes those credentials and accesses the individual’s Gmail.
If this is an individual in a position of power or influence, they may well have discussions in their personal mail that could be compromising.
And if they don’t have then the attacker who gains access to that Gmail may then use that account to begin a conversation with other people in the contact list, impersonate them, elicit information from other individuals.
It then just opens up a door to a raft of much bigger problems.”
All signs of the breach and the release at the end of the day can be traced back to one of four suspects, the DNC, George Soros, the intelligence community or finally Barrack Obama. Any one of the four would have either the financial or political reach to conduct such a leak.
I put the Democratic National Committee on the list for the simple reason that they were publicly humiliated by their hacks in last year’s elections and would want to heap some of that back on the President. Beyond that, they might have the resources but lack the leadership to do it. The internal struggle for leadership there after their humiliating losses put them to fractured to do it.
George Soros would have the resources and capability of doing that. He has the cash to do it, the connections and the desire to do it. Beyond that, he would have nothing to gain by releasing the information. To an evil mastermind such as him would keep the information to himself with the hopes that he could read the Trump playbook and be one step ahead of them in his goals of a worldwide socialist state.
The intelligence community has an ax to grind with Trump. He publicly pointed out their politics and their inability to stop Islamic Fundamentalist terror. Trump has questioned the accuracy of their reports and publically.
However, they would see the long term benefit of reading the mail of the White House. Hoover served as FBI Director for nearly 50 years by having dirt on leaders of our country. At the end of the day, they would use this information to their advantage.
That leaves Barrack Obama, now disgraced FORMER President, as our prime suspect. He has nothing to protect now, but his legacy and even he can see that it will soon disappear. To him embarrassing the new Commander-in-chief makes perfect sense.
Releasing this information, on the one hand, embarrasses the cyber security people around Trump and brings into question the safety of sensitive information in the White House; on the contrary even if for a little while it distracts the new Administration from other things.
Obama in this purposeful breach of protocol and security has not only once again revealed to the world that he is a sore loser, but he once again seems willing to put the data security of the United States and the very safety of our nation at risk for political purposes.