Snippet: A Particular Outdated Android Phone ☇

Shared on January 27, 2017

Alex Dobie did some sleuthing for Android Central to figure out what kind of phone is being used by Donald Trump:

The New York Times has reported that Donald Trump still tweets from the White House on his “old, unsecured Android phone, to the protests of some of his aides,” contradicting earlier reports that the president had turned in the handset in exchange for a “secure, encrypted device approved by the Secret Service.” It’s difficult to know with 100% certainty which Android device Trump currently uses to tweet (or whether it’s the off-the-shelf model he likely used during his campaign, or some secured variant.) […]

So there you go. Trump’s personal Android phone is more than likely a Samsung Galaxy S3, released in 2012, and which last received a software update in mid-2015, with firmware based on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean.

As noted in the intro, we don’t know for sure that Trump is still using this specific Galaxy S3. The two NYT reports conflict on whether he turned it in, or is still using it to fire out tweets from the White House. But if he is, and it’s the same consumer GS3 model he was apparently using as of February 2016, it’s safe to say it’s a good three years out of step with the latest Android security updates. Many Android security scares have come and gone since the GS3 got its last update in August of 2015.

This is some really good detective work, and really shows how iOS devices age versus Android devices, but it should be concerning if it is still that same Galaxy S3. There are way too many security holes and exploits available, especially on a device that received its last update just after the start of his campaign.

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