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Trump 2020 Campaign Exposed to Attack via App

Mark Holden

Led by renowned cybersecurity analysts Noam Rotem and Ran Locar, our security research team recently discovered a security vulnerability in US President Donald Trump’s mobile campaign app.

The team discovered the keys to various parts of the app, including its Twitter API.

Trump App Data Exposed

The reelection app exposed the information below in the Android APK file:

  • Twitter Application keys and secrets
  • Google apps key
  • Google maps key
  • Branch.io (mobile analytics) keys

Trump 2020 Campaign Exposed to Attack via App

Impact

The “Official Trump 2020” app was developed for President Trump’s reelection campaign, available for download on iOS and Android. The app’s code revealed keys and secrets, similar to usernames and passwords, that gave access to different parts of the app, such as its Twitter API.

While the exposed keys allowed access to many parts of the app, we concluded in our investigation that user accounts remained inaccessible through this vulnerability. We did not attempt to access any user accounts on the app, as we felt the initial vulnerability was sufficient to alert the Trump campaign.

We also concluded that an attacker would still need two additional keys (not exposed) to access any user account, including, potentially, President Trump’s.

However, a malicious hacker could still use the keys to impersonate the app, and much worse. For example, using the branch.io keys, hackers could potentially access app user and usage data.

Prevention

Vulnerabilities of this kind can easily be prevented with the implementation of more robust security practices. The app should not have revealed such sensitive information.

Simultaneously, any access keys should be secured, and secrets must never be exposed.

This exposure is significant, and the result of human error. It could easily have been avoided had the app’s development team followed stricter protocols.

Status

As soon as we understood the vulnerability completely and the potential damage it could cause, we reached out to the campaign app’s team on the same day and informed them of the exposure. This included contacting some people on the Trump team directly. Their InfoSec replied within a few hours and we shared the details of the vulnerability with them.

A fix was released within a few days.

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