President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida is really vulnerable to hackers, according to a report published Wednesday.
Investigative journalists for the nonprofit ProPublica and tech publication Gizmodo sailed on a “17 foot motor boat” around 800 feet away from the resort in order to get close enough to have an antenna reach a signal. Not long after, they were reportedly able to pick up three Wi-Fi networks with inadequate encryption.
Encryption, generally, is the process of transforming data into complex codes to automatically lock the information and essentially obstruct unauthorized access.
That wasn’t the only Trump location the investigators examined. They also visited Trump’s golf clubs in northern Virginia and New Jersey, respectively, as well as his relatively new eponymous hotel in Washington D.C.
For the golf course in New Jersey, two unlocked Wi-Fi networks without password requirements were detected.
The journalists also allegedly uncovered antiquated and weak software within servers, more unlocked Wi-Fi networks, and unsecure login pages, at the two other properties in D.C. and Virginia.
Trump has hosted several world leaders at these locations since he became president, including Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Due to the allegedly weak cybersecurity practices, conversations including sensitive information could be more vulnerable to nefarious hackers and spies.
Trump’s properties, specifically his hotels, have been the victim of data breaches before. His hotel chain agreed to reform its data security practices and pay $50,000 in penalties in September 2016 after prosecutors accused the conglomerate of not properly securing credit card systems. Specifically, seven different lodging facilities were infected with malware, resulting in the theft or exposure of 70,000 credit card numbers and other personal information, according to the office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
Law enforcement officials also allege that the accommodations consortium didn’t properly disclose the breaches.
“Like virtually every other company these days, we are routinely targeted by cyberterrorists whose only focus is to inflict harm on great American businesses,” said Amanda Miller, a spokesperson for The Trump Organization, according to ProPublica and Gizmodo. “While we will not comment on specific security measures, we are confident in the steps we have taken to protect our business and safeguard our information,” she continued, adding that the conglomerate employs “cybersecurity best practices.”
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