Trump’s son-in-law’s reckless use of WhatsApp worry cyber security experts in US

WASHINGTON, June 27, 2017 (Xinhua) -- Senior advisor to the President Jared Kushner arrives for the joint statements of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Donald Trump (both not in the picture) at the White House in Washington D.C., the United States, June 26, 2017. U.S. President Donald Trump held talks with visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, hailing strong bilateral ties and pledging to enhance cooperation in areas such as trade and anti-terrorism. (Xinhua/Yin Bogu/IANS)

San Francisco:  Ignoring national security concerns, Jared Kushner, son-in-law of US President Donald Trump, has been using WhatsApp to communicate with foreign leaders and conduct government businesses, which has been worrying cyber experts in the US.

“A source close to the Saudi royal court told CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen said Kushner has used WhatsApp to communicate with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who allegedly ordered murder and dismemberment of the Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi,” CNN reported on Saturday.

Kushner’s online communication habits, which put to risk the access and open avenues for exploitation of confidential information by foreign governments and hackers, have raised concerns among cyber security experts, the report said.

Recently Kushner’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, confirmed that Kushner has been using the private messaging app to communicate with foreign leaders. However, he did not testify whether Kushner shared any classified information via the app.

“Kushner on his personal phone is using a free commercial service that is connected to a company with huge security breaches. It’s a recipe for disaster,” the report quoted Daniel Schuman as saying, a former White House staffer who chairs the Congressional Data Coalition, a non-profit organisation, which aims to encourage smarter tech practices in Congress.

In 2017, the White House counsel’s Office directed staff to conduct all work-related electronic communications on their official government email accounts, which are monitored for threats.

The staff is allowed to use other methods of communication only when mailing is inconvenient. But they are not allowed to share classified information and take screen shots.

An administration official said Kushner was aware of rules and complies. However, Lowell did not respond to an question whether Kushner follow basic cybersecurity practices, like keeping his operating system up-to-date, the report added.