White House officials suspect that Chief of Staff John Kelly's cellphone was virtually infiltrated at some point in the past year, according to a Thursday Politico report.
The digital attack was first discovered after Kelly reported experiencing glitches on the device - which was his personal phone, and not the government-issued phone - for a while. However, he is no longer in the possession of the device, the spokesman said.
That's according to a report from Politico, citing three United States government officials.
His reputation as a straightshooter has many in the Oval Office and Republican Party optimistic as he takes the reins as chief of staff. Kelly was recently given authority to approve Cabinet travel.
The revelation about Kelly's phone being compromised comes as a shock, though he is not the only person in the administration to use a potentially at-risk device.
"The [attackers] I would be most anxious about are nation-states or other actors who may have access to resale of commercial spyware sold to nation-states", Marczak said.
According to the September memo, White House staffer analyzed the phone over several days to determine why it was inoperable - and numerous phone's functions were not working. "The average user won't notice anything at all". The IT department determined that the phone may have been compromised beginning in December 2016.