Every Trump White House tech fail so far

From using an outdated messaging app to not being able to find the White House light switches, the Trump White House has already had its fair share of tech blunders.
By Jessica Learish, Contributor
1 of 21 Andrew Cline/Shutterstock

Using out-of-date apps

Since Donald Trump's inauguration on January 20, 2017, some members of the tech community have rejoiced. But if some reports are to be believed, his team's grasp of tech leaves much to be desired.

For example: Recent reports allege the Trump team leans on an encrypted messaging service called Confide. The problem, according to security experts: It's not clear whether Confide is actually encrypted at all ...

2 of 21 @POTUS/Twitter

Ignoring serious software vulnerabilities

The app may be running on an outdated version of OpenSSL vulnerable to the Heartbleed bug. The app's website also touts Transport Layer Security (TLS) which has been widely criticized as flawed.

3 of 21 @POTUS/Twitter

Preferring Osama Bin Laden's means of communication

POTUS doesn't trust computers. He has stated that "no computer is safe," and that he would prefer that military secrets be communicated through handwritten notes deliver by human couriers.

The Associated Press has pointed out that the United States found Osama Bin Laden by tracking his courier.

4 of 21 Public Domain

Tweeting what looks like a password

On January 25, 2017, Press Secretary Sean Spicer tweeted a string of letters that many suspected to be a password...or maybe just a butt dial. Either way, he quickly deleted the post.

5 of 21 Shutterstock

Tweeting another string of letters

Whatever the mistake, Spicer apparently didn't learn from it. The next morning, Spicer tweeted a very similar string of letters and numbers, prompting a fresh round of ridicule from the Twitterverse.

As for what exactly the letters and numbers were, we'll never know: Spicer never commented.

6 of 21 Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Removing cyber-security chief

Cybersecurity chief Corey Louie, an Obama appointee, was escorted from the Eisenhower Executive Office Building by Secret Service on Thursday, February 2, 2017. That wasn't the troubling part, however ...

7 of 21 Cory Louie's LinkedIn profile as of Thursday. (Screenshot: ZDNet)

Having no replacement in mind

The office of Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) is responsible for making sure POTUS doesn't get hacked. As of mid-February, however, the White House had yet to name a replacement and has declined several of our requests for comment via email and telephone on the matter.

8 of 21 Shutterstock

Using an old Samsung Galaxy S3

Reporters with access to the White House say Donald Trump still uses a 2012 Samsung Galaxy S3 Android. Because of the connected apps (like Twitter) and enabled capabilities of this smartphone (like location tracking), the phone reportedly poses a serious security risk.

9 of 21 Shutterstock

Exposing country to security breaches

Phones that are not secured are vulnerable to attacks through phishing attempts and malware. One wrong click from an enemy tweet, and the president could be exposing himself and government secrets to hackers.

10 of 21 @realDonaldTrump/Twitter

Using phone flashlights on classified documents

During a February, 2017 visit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, Trump fielded a report that North Korea had launched a missile toward Japan.

Subsequent photos showed aides using cell phone flashlights on classified documents. Cell phone flashlights are notoriously vulnerable to hacking attempts.

11 of 21 Shutterstock

Linking @POTUS account to insecure email

After more than a year of lambasting Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server, Trump found himself on the receiving end of similar criticism on January 26, 2017. Watchdogs found that the official presidential Twitter account had been registered to an insecure, cloud-based Gmail address.

Less than three hours after the story of this potential security threat broke on Twitter, the POTUS account was linked to an official White House email address.

12 of 21 @realDonaldTrump/Twitter

Using a private email server

On January 25, 2017, Trump advisers Kellyanne Conway, Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner were found to have active email addresses on a private RNC email server -- the same server the Bush administration was accused of using to evade transparency rules in 2009.

These email addresses have since been deleted.

13 of 21 Donald Trump Campaign/Reddit

Being skeptical of digital ads

According to the New York Times, Trump doubts that online ads are ever effective. However, Trump's own digital director, Brad Parscale, has noted that Facebook advertising helped generate the bulk of $250 million in online fundraising for Trump's own campaign.

14 of 21 Shutterstock

Soliciting Bill Gates to shut down internet

One of the more interesting proposals Trump floated on the campaign trail was that Bill Gates would help him "close that internet up" as a method for combatting ISIS.

"Somebody will say, 'Oh, freedom of speech, freedom of speech,'" Trump elaborated. "These are foolish people."

Gates never commented on the proposal.

15 of 21 Shutterstock

Confusing Gates with network IT

Besides the obvious conflicts with the First Amendment, Gates never worked on networks or web access during his time at Microsoft.

16 of 21 Shutterstock

Alienating Silicon Valley CEOs

Between his executive order blocking entry of immigrants and refugees from seven majority-Muslim countries and his threats to the H-1B visa program, Trump isn't forging a reputation for supporting the tech industry right now. Apple's Tim Cook and GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving have both expressed serious misgivings about Trump's policies regarding immigrants.

17 of 21 Shutterstock

Retweeting The Onion

Either Sean Spicer didn't quite understand the purpose of the satirical site The Onion when he retweeted a video about his mission to provide the American public with "misinformation," or he is in on the joke that his job involves a certain amount of spin.

18 of 21 Shutterstock

Touting Obama-era Intel factory

Trump has given himself a public pat on the back for the construction of an Intel chip factory in Arizona. Media outlets were quick to clarify that Intel began construction on the factory during the Obama administration but paused because of budgetary issues.

19 of 21 Shutterstock

Having meetings in the dark

Trump's team could use some IoT in the White House. Staffers reportedly could not find the light switches in the cabinet room well into February, a claim that Trump denied via tweet.

20 of 21 Shutterstock

Tweeting the wrong Ivanka

Not only did POTUS tweet a British woman instead of his own daughter, the British Ivanka also responded with a quippy suggestion for Mr. Trump. She wrote, "May I suggest more care on Twitter and more time learning about #climatechange."

21 of 21 Shutterstock

Failing to explain nuclear tech

In his press conference on February 16, 2017, POTUS attempted to explain uranium and nuclear physics thusly: "Do you know what uranium is? It's a little thing called nuclear weapons and other things. Lots of things are done with uranium including some bad things."

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