Dutch police have questioned a security researcher who said he successfully logged into the US president’s Twitter account by guessing his password.
Last month, well-known cyber investigator Victor Gevers said he had gained access to Donald Trump’s Twitter account with the password ‘MAGA2020!’.
The White House denied it had happened and Twitter said it had no evidence of a hack.
But Mr Gevers has now revealed more information to back up his claims.
As part of the police interrogation, Mr Gevers revealed for the first time that he had substantially more evidence of the “hack” than he had previously released.
He did not reveal exactly what information he had, but by logging in to somebody’s Twitter account someone would in theory be able to:
see and send private messages
see tweets that the user had privately bookmarked
access information such as how many people the account holder had blocked
They would even be able to download an archive of all the user’s data, including photos and messages.
A spokesman for the Dutch Public Prosecution Service confirmed to De Volkskrant newspaper: “We are currently investigating whether something criminal has happened.”
The spokesman said their inquiry was an “independent Dutch investigation” and not based on a US request for legal assistance.
The police told the BBC that Mr Gevers had been questioned as a witness by the High Tech Crime Team and was not a suspect yet.
Police must first prove that the hack happened. If prosecutors consider Mr Gevers’ actions to be illegal and outside the realm of cyber-security research, he could face up to four years in prison.
Mr Gevers told reporters of his hack on 22 October. Dutch news outlet Vrij Nederland first reported the story.
Donald Trump’s Twitter account has about 89 million followers.
Mr Gevers says he was doing a semi-regular sweep of the Twitter accounts of high-profile US election candidates on 16 October when he guessed President Trump’s password.
He did not post any tweets or change any settings, but said he took screenshots of some parts of the president’s account.
He said he had spent days trying to contact the Trump campaign to warn them about their security, which was lacking extra safeguards like two-factor authentication, before going to the press.
Two-factor authentication is a widely-used security system that links a phone app or number to an account, to add an extra step to the process of logging in.
The US president’s account is now secure.
At the time, Twitter said: “We’ve seen no evidence to corroborate this claim. 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.”
Twitter refused to answer any further questions about the hack, including whether or not the extra security measures were permanently enforced or if the company even has access to the president’s account activity.
Mr Gevers’ story has been met with scepticism by some in the information security world as his screenshots could have been faked.
However, he claims to have a lot more data. He hopes he will not have to disclose it to prosecutors but says he is prepared to if necessary.
He said: “I have evidence that was not included in the responsible disclosure to the Trump team because it did not add anything in alerting the victim of the risk.
“I have shown some of it to a select group of journalists. Police asked me if I was willing to show it and I said no. Only if there is an indication of wrongdoing will the archived material be unlocked.”
The BBC has seen some evidence but has not been able to verify whether all the additional material is genuine.
But Mr Gevers says he is standing by his account of events and hopes that his actions are ruled to have been a normal part of his job as an ethical hacker.
“There should not be a reason for the Dutch National Police, especially the team at the High Tech Crime Unit, to doubt my statement. They know me, they know my work for more than 22 years with the Dutch Institute for Vulnerability Disclosure.
“I did not ‘hack’ Trump’s account, I did not bypass any security system as there was no adequate security in place. I just guessed the password and then tried to warn his team about the risks and how to solve them.”
Earlier this year, Mr Gevers also claimed to have successfully logged into Mr Trump’s Twitter account in 2016.
In that login he and other security researchers used a password linked to another of Donald Trump’s social network accounts that was discovered in a previous data breach.
In that instance Mr Gevers claims the password was another famous catchphrase from the reality TV star and politician: “yourefired”.
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-55019858
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BLACKBERRY PHONES TO STOP WORKING AS COMPANY FINALLY PULLS PLUG
independent– BlackBerry phones, once the height of mobile devices, are finally being shut off.
The company announced that services for the older devices will be brought to an end on 4 January. At that point, they will “no longer reliably function”, BlackBerry said, and will be unable to get data, texts or make phone calls, including to emergency numbers.
It is just the latest in a series of endings for the once equally beloved and hated name, which helped drive the mobile revolution and was at the forefront of business and technology. While the BlackBerry has been declared dead a number of times before, the latest move means that the phones themselves will actually stop working.
In 2016, after its phones had been replaced largely by smartphones from Apple and others, BlackBerry announced that it had transitioned away from phones and into making software and that it would focus on providing security tools to companies and governments. It has sold the BlackBerry brand to other companies, who have created devices bearing the name.
In 2020, BlackBerry said that with that move complete, it would start taking offline the legacy services that allowed those old devices to keep working. Phones that run any of BlackBerry’s own operating systems – BlackBerry 7.1 OS and earlier, BlackBerry 10 software – were given an “end of life or termination date” at the start of 2022.
Next week, that date will finally arrive and support will end. While the phones will still be able to perform some of their functions without BlackBerry’s services, many of their central features will be removed, and the phones will not work reliably.
BlackBerry said the support was being removed in recognition of the fact that it now works in security software and that the old products did not reflect its business. It had prolonged support in the years since that transition “as an expression of thanks to our loyal partners and customers”, it said.
70 Jupiter-sized ‘rogue planets’ discovered in our galaxy
independent– A team of astronomers discovered at least 70 ‘rogue’ planets in our galaxy, the largest collection ever found to date.
While conventional planets (like those in our Solar System) orbit a star, rogue planets roam freely without travelling around a nearby star.
“We did not know how many to expect and are excited to have found so many,” said Núria Miret-Roig, an astronomer at the Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Bordeaux.
It would usually be impossible to detect rogue planets because they are hard to spot far from a star’s light. One key fact of their existence made them visible: these planets still give off enough heat to glow millions of years after their creation, making them visible to powerful telescopes.
This heat allowed the 70 planets – each with masses close to that of Jupiter – to be discovered in the Scorpius and Ophiuchus constellations.
“We measured the tiny motions, the colours and luminosities of tens of millions of sources in a large area of the sky,” explained Ms Miret-Roig. “These measurements allowed us to securely identify the faintest objects in this region, the rogue planets.”
The astronomers’ study suggests there could be many more elusive, starless planets yet to be discovered, numbering in the billions in the Milky Way alone.
By studying these planets, astronomers believe they could unlock clues as to how the mysterious objects come to be. It is hypothesised they are generated from the collapse of gas clouds too small to create stars, but they could also have been ejected from a parent system.
“These objects are extremely faint and little can be done to study them with current facilities,” says Hervé Bouy, another astronomer at the Laboratoire d’Astrophysique. “The ELT [Extremely Large Telescope, currently being built in Chile] will be absolutely crucial to gathering more information about most of the rogue planets we have found.”
The exact number of rogue planets discovered is vague, because the observations made by the researchers do not allow them to measure the mass of the objects. Bodies with a mass 13 times greater than that of Jupiter are unlikely to be planets, but relying on brightness makes this figure unclear.
The brightness of these objects is also related to age, as the older the planet is the dimmer it will be. The brightest objects in the sample could have a mass greater than the upper limit but be older and therefore dimmer. Researchers estimate there could be as many as 100 more planets yet to be discovered because of this uncertainty.
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