Dutch prosecutors believe a security researcher hacked President Donald Trump’s Twitter account in October, despite earlier denials from the White House and Twitter. According to The Guardian, a specialist police team investigated hacker Victor Gevers, who claimed to have guessed Trump’s password as “maga2020!” and breached his account. “We believe the hacker has actually penetrated Trump’s Twitter account, but has met the criteria that have been developed in case law to go free as an ethical hacker,” a public prosecutor’s office spokesperson told The Guardian.
The BBC reports that Dutch law enforcement alerted US authorities to the findings. It’s unclear exactly what evidence Gevers provided to police; he previously offered screenshots that apparently showed him logged into Trump’s account. (Vice published an article casting additional doubt on Gevers’ story, pointing out a missing emoji in Trump’s bio, but that could be explained by factors like using a browser plugin.) Gevers said he’d guessed Trump’s password during a routine check on major public figures’ account security, and he didn’t deface or otherwise compromise the account.
Twitter denied the original hacking reports in October, saying that it saw “no evidence to corroborate this claim” from Gevers. “Our original statement still stands and we have nothing further to share,” a spokesperson told The Verge in response to the prosecutor’s new conclusion. The White House has also strenuously denied the report.
Trump has admitted at least one breach of his personal Twitter account, which he’s continued to use in office. But Gevers allegedly hacked Trump’s account just a month after Twitter ramped up security for high-profile users, and Twitter said it had “proactively implemented account security measures” for high-profile government accounts. The hack would have required Trump to break Twitter’s best practices and disable two-factor authentication, a basic security precaution.
That said, the Trump administration’s response to far more serious cybersecurity threats hasn’t inspired much confidence. And at least one law enforcement agency is taking Gevers’ admission seriously.
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