A hacker who claims to have gotten access to President Donald Trump’s personal Twitter account by guessing his password will not face charges, according to reports, because the man acted “ethically” following getting access.
Dutch prosecutors say Victor Gevers did get access to the @realDonaldTrump Twitter account by guessing “MAGA2020!” as the password in late October of this year, saying that Gevers shared screenshots from inside the account, according to the BBC.
At the time, the White House and Twitter denied it had been hacked.
Gevers, a cyber-security researcher, said he was doing a semi-regular sweep of Twitter accounts associated with the U.S. election when he correctly guessed Trump’s password.
Investigators in the Netherlands said Gevers was investigating the strength of the password based on “major interests involved if this Twitter account could be taken over so shortly before the presidential election.”
“We believe the hacker has actually penetrated Trump’s Twitter account, but has met the criteria that have been developed in case law to go free as an ethical hacker,” reads a statement from the public prosecutor’s office, the Guardian reported.
Investigators say Gevers met the standard for “responsible disclosure.”
He has publicly shared how he guessed the password, and tweeted October 22, following the alleged hack, a warning possibly aimed at the president urging people to use two-factor authentication. This is a way to make hacking more difficult by requiring two forms of authentication when account details are changed.
It started six years ago. And hopefully, it will be the last time in 2020. Please switch on two-factor authentication on all of your accounts. 🙏— Victor Gevers (@0xDUDE) October 22, 2020
Gevers claims he also hacked into Trump’s Twitter account six years ago by guessing the password “yourefired.”
Dutch police have sent U.S. authorities their findings.
“This is absolutely not true but we don’t comment on security procedures around the President’s social media accounts,” deputy White House press secretary Judd Deere said in a statement to the Washington Post in October.
In reference to the latest development, Twitter told the BBC: "We've seen no evidence to corroborate this claim, including from the article published in the Netherlands today. We proactively implemented account security measures for a designated group of high-profile, election-related Twitter accounts in the United States, including federal branches of government."