Cybersecurity ‘Adviser’ Rudy Giuliani Needed an Apple Genius to Unlock His iPhone

Rudy Giuliani Credit: Albert H. Teich / Shutterstock
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If there’s anyone who shouldn’t go to an Apple Store for help with a forgotten iPhone passcode, it’s a presidential cybersecurity adviser.

Yet, just one month after he was informally named a cybersecurity adviser by President Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani went to a brick-and-mortar Apple location seeking help with a locked iPhone.

Reportedly, Giuliani had entered an incorrect passcode too many times on the iPhone (at least 10), according to an internal Apple Store memo seen by NBC News.

“Customer came in with an iPhone that had a forgotten passcode and the phone had been disabled,” the memo, dated Feb. 7, 2017, read. “Proceeded with DFU restore and will set up the phone again from a current iCloud backup.”

Even Apple Store staff called the move “very sloppy,” adding that “he couldn’t even master the fundamentals of securing (his) own device” just weeks after being named an adviser on cybersecurity.

While forgetting a password is a fairly common problem, there are serious questions about Giuliani’s handling of the matter — and about his knowledge of basic cybersecurity practices.

“There’s no way he should be going to a commercial location to ask for that assistance,” E.J. Hilbert, a former FBI special agent and cybercrime specialist, told NBC.

“That’s crazy,” said another FBI special agent, Michael Anaya.

Some of the main concerns surround the fact that Giuliani, as someone close to the president, is likely a particularly attractive target for hackers.

Anaya told NBC that someone in Giuliani’s position should never trust someone he didn’t know — like a Genius Bar employee — with access to his device. Doing so potentially risks the data stored on the device and in the cloud.

“It’s unnerving to think that this individual has access to the most powerful person in the world and that sensitive communications could be disclosed to people who should not have access to them,” Anaya said.

This isn’t the first tech-related blunder attributed to Giuliani. Last week, the attorney apparently butt-dialed an NBC reporter — twice — and left long voicemails in which he is heard discussing sensitive matters.

Experts in the information security field have also widely questioned whether Giuliani is actually qualified to be a cybersecurity adviser at any capacity.

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