Prosecution investigates Dutch hacker who gained access to Trump’s Twitter
Dutch ethical hacker, Victor Gevers, was interrogated by the Dutch police for accessing the Twitter account of US President Donald Trump in October. The Public Prosecution Service (Openbaar Ministerie) is investigating whether Gevers’s actions involve any criminal activity, reports de Volkskrant.
The Prosecution office emphasized that this is an “independent Dutch investigation” and that the US has not requested any legal action. Gevers was heard as a witness by the High Tech Crime Team of the police. He is currently not a suspect.
The Dutch hacker gained access to the US President’s Twitter account in October by correctly guessing the password; “MAGA2020!”. The President also did not enable two-step verification, an additional security mechanism.
Gevers reasserts that he did not abuse access to the account, though he did try in as many ways as possible to inform the President and those around him that the account was poorly secured. “I actually did not want to be able to enter the account, especially not with such an important account,” said Gevers. The White House denied the hack. Twitter, too, has dismissed the incident.
Gevers is a well-known researcher who voluntarily searches for security holes in people’s accounts. Once he is “in,” he gathers evidence while ensuring not to commit any criminal offense, he explains.
The ethical handling of information gained through hacking is called responsible disclosure. It requires the hacker to inform the account holder of the breach in a timely and correct manner. Gevers says that “the police wanted to know how that entire process went, how the run-up to it evolves, and what effort I took to get in touch with the victim.”
October was not the first time that Gevers gained access to the US President’s account. He was one of the three Dutch hackers who also managed to hack Trump’s Twitter account four years ago, a few weeks before the 2016 presidential elections. The hacker told Vrij Nederland that he deliberately went further this time because the previous report “clearly had no effect”.