The Dutch security expert claims the hack exposes a lack of basic security measures, but Twitter has since said it’s ‘seen no evidence’ of a breach
When a massive Twitter hack saw multiple high-profile accounts – including those of Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Elon Musk, and Joe Biden – taken over by Bitcoin scammers back in July, there was one notable exception: the account of Donald Trump. This led to speculation that the President’s Twitter has extra protections, but now a Dutch hacker has suggested otherwise.
The security expert, named Victor Gevers, claims that he hacked Trump’s Twitter account just last week, gaining access to his private messages and the ability to post tweets to his 87 million followers. How did he do it? He simply guessed the password: “maga2020!”
Apparently, Gevers ended up landing on the correct password – which is based on the Make America Great Again slogan popularised in Trump’s 2016 campaign – on just his fifth attempt. “I expected to be blocked after four failed attempts,” he tells the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant. “Or at least asked to provide additional information.”
Following the successful hack, he claims that he contacted Donald Trump directly, as well as his campaign team and family, to send a warning that the social media account wasn’t safe. Failing to get a response, he also contacted the CIA, the White House, the FBI, and Twitter, reports De Volkskrant. “Then on Saturday, I suddenly saw that two-step verification for the account had been activated,” Gevers says, adding that the Secret Service got in touch a couple of days later, for a “friendly” conversation in which they thanked him for bringing the lack of security to their attention.
However, a spokesperson for Twitter has denied reports that Trump’s account was compromised in the first place, telling The Verge: “We’ve seen no evidence to corroborate this claim, including from the article published in the Netherlands today. We proactively implemented account security measures for a designated group of high-profile, election-related Twitter accounts in the United States, including federal branches of government.”
“This is absolutely not true,” adds White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere, “but we don’t comment on security procedures around the President’s social media accounts.”
In any case, it wouldn’t be the first time Gevers has hacked Trump’s Twitter account. That was back in 2016, when he and two other hackers also managed to guess Trump’s password (which was then reportedly based on another of his catchphrases: “yourefired”).