Victor Gevers, the ethical hacker who earlier this year claimed to have broken into President Trump’s Twitter account, will not be punished, a Dutch prosecutor announced Wednesday.
“Logging in to the Twitter account of US President Trump by a Dutch ethical hacker in October 2020 was not punishable. That is the conclusion of the Public Prosecution Service after an investigation by the Team High Tech Crime of the National Unit,” reads a rough translation of the news release.
Much like everywhere else in the civilized world, hacking is a felony in the Netherlands. However, not all hacking is malicious, and Dutch authorities determined that Gevers indeed was wearing his white hat while breaking into Trump’s Twitter account.
Police documented his responsible disclosure of the hack, including his move to contact American authorities to report that he guessed Trump’s password – “maga2020!”
“The hacker released the login himself,” the news release continues. “He later stated to police that he had investigated the strength of the password, because there were major interests involved if this Twitter account could be taken over so shortly before the presidential election.”
It’s worth noting that the White House denied the hack at the time, and still does. Twitter, for its part, said it has seen no evidence of Gevers’ claims.
But according to the Dutch Public Ministry (Openbaar Ministerie), “the OM assumes that 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.”
After the White House and Twitter denied that he ever broke into Trump’s account, Gevers said the password had changed and two-factor-authentication (2FA) had been enabled.
As reported by Silviu Stahie in October, this was not the first time hackers allegedly guessed Trump’s Twitter password. In fact, three hackers – all from the Netherlands – are said to have accessed Trump’s account in 2016 after guessing that his password was “yourefired,” his catchphrase from The Apprentice. Like with Gevers’ alleged hack, American officials refuted the claims at the time.
It seems unfortunate that Gevers had to defend himself for what all parties involved say was either an ethical hack, or no hack at all. If anything, his actions/allegations have probably made Trump’s Twitter account more secure.