Democratic Congress Members Raise Alarm About Security at Trump Properties

Two dozen House Democrats have sent a letter to White House counsel Donald McGahn, warning that digital security holes at the Trump Organization's clubs and hotels are risks to national security and the secrecy of classified information.


"The White House must act immediately to secure the potentially sensitive information on these systems," said the letter, which was signed by 24 Congress members and went to McGahn last week.


Their concerns were in response to an article published last month by ProPublica and Gizmodo that documented the cybersecurity vulnerabilities at properties the president has frequented since being elected. Our reporting found unencrypted login pages, servers running outdated software, accessible printers, and Wi-Fi networks that were open to anyone close enough to access them.


We were able to detect vulnerable networks at Mar-a-Lago — Trump's "Southern White House" — from a small motorboat about 800 feet from the club on Florida's Intracoastal Waterway. We also found open Wi-Fi networks at the grounds of the Trump golf courses in Bedminster, New Jersey, and accessible Wi-Fi-enabled printers at Trump's course in Sterling, Virginia.


"To leave these networks unsecured undermines our national priorities and the trust the American people place in the Office of the President," the letter warned.


The White House and the Trump Organization did not comment on the letter.


Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., the letter's author, said the vulnerabilities revealed by our story demand immediate action, but he's received no response from the administration so far. "It needs to be addressed quickly. Potentially every minute something is leaking," he said. "It is too late to close the henhouse after the foxes come in."


Since becoming president, Donald Trump has spent time at his clubs on most weekends and has met with foreign dignitaries like Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago.


In February, members of Mar-a-Lago posted pictures of a dinner meeting between Trump and Abe on the patio of the club. Cybersecurity experts warned that sophisticated hackers could turn guests' cellphones into clandestine listening devices if they gained access to the networks at the club.


Hackers may not need to travel to each of the Trump Organization's clubs and hotels in order to gain access. We found that the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C., was hosting a server running software that is more than a decade old and is still accessible from the internet.


After we notified the company that administers the Trump clubs' websites about our findings, they disabled an insecure login page that lead to a database of sensitive information that we found on Mar-a-Lago's website. However, the company, called Clubessential, has not locked down its customer documentation website, which includes usernames and passwords to internal accounts and is accessible to anyone with an internet connection.


Clubessential did not respond to a request for comment.


"Cyber-criminals and nation states have both the incentive and the ability to hack these networks to obtain sensitive information critical to our national security and international diplomacy," the Congress members' letter said.


Since our visits to Trump's properties in early May, the president has spent four weekends at his clubs.


"He's the president of the United States," Engel said. "We should make sure he's secure wherever he is."


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Siftr Magic: Magic Cleaner for WhatsApp

Professor Kleen believes in cleanliness. So why not invite him to your phone to keep it clean? He knows intuitively what is clean and what is trash.

WhatsApp has this nasty habit of saving every single picture you have ever sent or received. While the app means well, the result is that every single time someone sent you a ‘cute’ photo, or a screenshot of their phone, it’s cluttering your storage.  Over time, hordes of WhatsApp messages clog your device’s memory. It is painful to sift through the pictures you need to keep and delete the rest. Magic Cleaner for WhatsApp does exactly that for you.

After you install and run the app, it will analyse all your WhatsApp photo and video attachments, find those that it feels are junk and then neatly categorise the junk into various groups—quotations, cartoons, forwards, etc. It allows you to review them and, ultimately, to delete them—all in one shot.

In my initial trials, I found that all this was done very intelligently, using cutting-edge technology and neural networks. After a few iterations, I was confident and was able to delete the junk, without even a review.

Siftr Magic works equally efficiently for WhatsApp, Line, Viber, Telegram and Hike.



Court Comes to the Rescue of Ailing Girl
For Zoroastrians, the holiest of holies is Udvada, a village in south Gujarat. It is loaded, or at least it was, with priests. When, over a hundred years ago, the British insisted on everyone having a surname, those who had none chose either their profession or their place of residence. Those from Udvada became Udvadias.
Fast forward to Bombay, as it was then called. Udvadias opted for various vocations. One family soon became full of doctors, in almost every field. This is the story of one of them and his battle with bureaucracy.
Tuberculosis (TB) is a deadly disease. It saps the very vitals of the patient slowly. No drug in India could combat it till the 1960s. Then, an antibiotic, Rifampicin, was discovered. Soon, everyone would say, ‘TB is curable’. The dreaded disease had been contained. Then, the turn of the century brought up a new problem. Viruses and bacteria do not like to die. Like humans, they resist death. They mutate. TB germs fought back and became drug resistant. Rifampicin and other medicines no longer worked.
A girl from Bihar was diagnosed with TB in 2012. Normal drugs seemed to work at first. Then, she started to lose weight and the slide downhill was blamed on drug-resistant TB. Medicines failed. A glimmer of hope lay in a new wonder drug called Bedaquiline.
By now, it was May 2014. She was moved to The Lala Ram Swarup TB Hospital in Delhi. Bedaquiline would help. But it was not administered to the girl. She was not even told that it existed. By October 2016, she weighed only 25kg. That is when she was brought to Mumbai and to Dr Zarir Udvadia. He recommended Bedaquiline. After all, he was the first to publish a study on the drug in 2012.
Unfortunately, he could not administer it as its use had been restricted by the Union government under the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme. Good intentions gone wrong. The drug could only be given in select cities, Delhi being one. But not to this dying girl. Why? Because she was not from Delhi!
Dr Udvadia tried every avenue. He failed. Not one to give up, he, and the girl’s father, sought the court of last resort: a law court. The father petitioned the Delhi High Court; his daughter was withering away.
You be the judge. Should the judge uphold the  government’s rule or try to save the child? Blessed are the courageous souls that grace our courts. He ordered the administering of Bedaquiline. A law court had come to the rescue of a sick girl.              
“My daughter would still be struggling in the absence of any treatment, if Dr Udwadia had not helped us. He was hand-holding us at every step. I and my entire family is indebted to him,” said the relieved father. Dr Udvadia has this to say: “Thousands more in this country need access to it (Bedaquiline) urgently.” He says that he currently has 30 patients on Bedaquiline and the success rate is 70%. “Many more patients under my care need this miracle drug; but access to it remains difficult. I have gone through a lot of difficulties to get Bedaquiline.”
One may not find fault with the authorities for the restrictions. Wonder drugs are powerful; they also have side-effects, sometimes fatal. But a ‘one-size-fits-all’ bureaucratic attitude may be self-defeating. Does every patient have to seek legal redress? The question then is: Where does one draw the line? In the case of TB, its recent resurgence has raised much apprehension. Even a single day’s neglect in taking the pill can lead to resistance. So strict has the enforcement to be that health workers make daily rounds to ensure compliance. A full course takes 18 months. TB can spread like wildfire and some estimates conclude that 90% of the population may be carrying TB germs. Only, they have not manifested themselves. As yet.
As a TB patient from 1996 to 1997, this author knows only too well the ravages it causes to the body. Unfortunately, there is no preventive vaccination for drug-resistant TB. One can only hope that, like smallpox, TB too is eradicated. And not burden our over-burdened courts.



Silloo Marker

1 week ago

Thank God for doctors who find time for being truly good doctors. Dr. Udwadia is one of many who may be unknown but there are unfortunately more doctors in 5-star hospitals who do whatever is required to make those expensive establishments work, even at the cost of ordering unnecessary interventions and drugs for their patients. It is a sorry state of affairs in our country where more accessible hospitals are required urgently and with more humane doctors.

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