As Donald Trump stepped into a high-security ring after he took the oath to become the 45th US President, one of the things he was forced to do was to ditch his Android smartphone for a “potentially modified iPhone”.
According to a report in the New York Times, Trump traded in his Android phone for a secure, encrypted device approved by the US Secret Service with a new number that few people possess.
The NYT previously reported that Trump uses a Samsung Galaxy phone, and it is possible to distinguish tweets sent by Trump himself (as opposed to those sent by his team) by checking which are sent from an Android phone.
The new device is reportedly to safeguard the US President from potential threats posed by hackers gaining access.
According to a report in Appleinsider, Trump may follow in the steps of his predecessor Barack Obama who was the first US president to carry a cellphone -- initially starting with a modified BlackBerry and later migrating to an iPhone.
Last year, Obama said the device given by Secret Service to the President came stripped of all features and heavily modified to ensure his safety.
“It does not take pictures, you cannot text, the phone does not work, you cannot play your music on it,” Obama had said of his own government-approved smartphone last year. One benefit, though, is that it was the only device with access to the @POTUS Twitter account.
Trump’s new device is likely to be similar to that of Obama’s.
It is possible to lock down an Android phone by enabling full-disk encryption or writing a customised version of Android.
But an iPhone is a simpler option. Full-disk encryption is on by default in iOS 8 and later and any device with a Touch ID sensor also has a Secure Enclave that makes even physical hacking difficult without a warrant.
This week Trump was forced to abandon his cherished “Trump” 757 aircraft for an Air Force jet, the New York Times said.