Internet security at Mar-a-Lago and a handful of other Trump properties is alarmingly easy to bypass, according to a report published Wednesday.
A joint investigation by ProPublica and Gizmodo found wireless networks and devices, including printers, at these locations that are vulnerable to both spying and hacking.
For instance, the investigators parked a boat equipped with a wireless antenna offshore near Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., and found three Wi-Fi networks with poor encryption. The investigation also found wireless vulnerabilities at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J.; Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.; and Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va.
Trump has made frequent visits to many of these properties as president, especially the Mar-a-Lago resort, where he has hosted foreign leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The report says that any diplomatic conversations they may have had could have been monitored by hackers.
Dave Aitel, chief executive officer of Immunity, Inc., told ProPublica that judging by their report that "those networks all have to be crawling with foreign intruders, not just ProPublica." It is not clear whether Trump himself connects to these insecure networks.
Despite the reportedly easy-to-breach Internet, Trump Organization claims it follows "cybersecurity best practices."
"Like virtually every other company these days, we are routinely targeted by cyberterrorists whose only focus is to inflict harm on great American businesses," spokeswoman Amanda Miller told the news outlets. "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. Our teams work diligently to deploy best-in-class firewall and anti-vulnerability platforms with constant 24/7 monitoring."
The White House and another retreat used by previous presidents, Camp David in Maryland, have their computers and networks operated by the Defense Information Systems Agency with a multimillion-dollar budget, which dwarfs the $442,931 budget for security at Mar-a-Lago in 2016, the report notes. But even that government-run security system has been hacked by the Russians.