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Trump tweets

Trump's POTUS Twitter account appeared to be linked to a private gmail account

If your Twitter account gets hacked, that's an inconvenience. If President Trump's market-moving, semi-official favorite form of communicating with the public gets compromised, that's really, really bad news. Alarms were raised earlier this week with a report in The New York Times that, contrary to earlier claims, Trump is still using "his old, unsecured Android phone, to the protests of some of his aides," and some of the tweets from his @RealDonaldTrump account appear to be from that phone. Alex Dobie at Android Central hypothesizes, based on photos of Trump, that he uses a Samsung Galaxy S3, which would be out of date, security-wise. In a worst-case scenario, Trump's phone would be infected with malware that lets outsiders record video and audio without being detected.

On Thursday, sharp-eyed Twitter users also noticed that Trump's @POTUS account appeared to be linked to the personal gmail account of his White House social media director, Dan Scavino. Scavino has apparently fixed that, but linking to commercial email made the Twitter account more vulnerable to hacking. "We're living in a world where cyber war has overtaken real war and where breaches have become the third certainty in life along with death and taxes," Adam Levin, chairman and founder of CyberScout, tells USA Today. Another cyberscecurity expert, Eddie Schwartz, said that even if Trump is using his old Android, "the White House has very good security people, so I would have to imagine if they have access to the phone they'd take as many opportunities to secure it as they could."

There is also, of course, the suggestion that Scavino is using his gmail account for government business, putting his communication out of reach of federal records and FOIA laws. Trump and other Republicans hammered Hillary Clinton for using a private email account and server as secretary of state. But Trump's supporters, who regularly yelled "Lock her up!" over the server, have had a recent change of heart. In a new poll from Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm, 42 percent of Trump voters said Trump should be allowed to use a private email server in office, while just 39 percent said that should not be allowed.