The Wi-Fi networks at Mar-a-Lago and a number of other Trump properties can be hacked in a matter of minutes, according to a team of investigators.
“We parked a 17-foot motor boat in a lagoon about 800 feet from the back lawn of the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, and pointed a two-foot wireless antenna that resembled a potato gun toward the club,” explained Surya Mattu, Jeff Larson and Julia Angwin, who performed a handful of hacks on behalf of Gizmodo and ProPublica.
“Within a minute, we spotted three weakly encrypted Wi-Fi networks,” they said. “We could have hacked them in less than five minutes, but we refrained.”
In their report, published Wednesday, the team describes how they managed to infiltrate networks at Mar-a-Lago, the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., and the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia — using equipment that “any half-decent hacker” would have access to.
While most hotels and golf clubs are known for their weak Internet security, they usually aren’t being visited by the president on a monthly basis.
“Since the election, Trump has hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and British politician Nigel Farage at his properties,” the group writes. “The cybersecurity issues we discovered could have allowed those diplomatic discussions — and other sensitive conversations at the properties — to be monitored by hackers.”
Experts told ProPublica and Gizmodo that they wouldn’t be surprised if foreign intruders have already managed to breach those networks.
While it’s unclear if the president actually connects or uses the Wi-Fi at his properties, a spokeswoman from the Trump Organization claimed they follow “cyber security best practices.”