Donald Trump offers cybersecurity warning: 'No computer is safe'

'If you have something really important, write it out and have it delivered by courier,' Trump advises

Donald Trump showed off his IT security credentials at a New Year's Eve party, suggesting that the best way to keep secrets from hackers is a huge air gap.

"No computer is safe," he told journalists gathered at his Mar-A-Lago resort in Florida, a warning many computer security professionals would probably endorse.

Trump also shared his advice on managing data security risks. Forget switching to TLS or quantum key exchange: "If you have something really important, write it out and have it delivered by courier," he said, according to a report from Associated Press.

Trump's suggestion -- echoing his July 29 infosec advice for military commanders -- would put the biggest of airgaps around secret communications, ensuring that they could not be hacked into from afar. If he were to apply it to government communications, though, it would leave officials needing a veritable army of trustworthy little hands to carry messages.

The security -- or otherwise -- of email servers was a hot topic during the presidential election campaign, with Trump making much of opponent Hilary Clinton's use of a private server to host official government emails during her time as Secretary of State, and even encouraging Russian hackers to try to find emails she had deleted.

Despite this encouragement, Trump has been dismissive of allegations that Russia attempted to influence the election through hacking.

When U.S. President announced sanctions against Russia last week over attempts to hack the Democratic National Committee, Trump told reporters: "I think we ought to get on with our lives."

Trump has arranged to meet with U.S. intelligence officials to discuss the allegations next week, and said at the New Year's Eve event, that he wants U.S. them "to be sure because it's a pretty serious charge."

Such allegations can be difficult to substantiate, he warned.

"I know a lot about hacking," he said, "And hacking is a very hard thing to prove, so it could be somebody else."

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Peter Sayer

IDG News Service
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