Report: Soccer Ball Putin Gifted to Trump Could Be Bugged

The soccer ball that Russian President Vladimir Putin gifted to President Trump during the Helsinki summit has a chip with a mini-antenna that can transmit to nearby phones, according to a Wednesday report from Bloomberg News. This antenna is part of Adidas’ original, intentional design, Bloomberg notes, which allows fans to access mobile content by holding their phone near the ball. But the device could, however, hypothetically be used to install malware on a nearby phone. Representatives from a German hacker collective noted that the president would have to make a series of idiotic errors in order for that to occur, including “ignoring multiple security warnings” and “intentionally install[ing] a malware.” But Bloomberg noted that the chip could also have hypothetically been replaced with spy gear, or, that the entire ball could be a spy device fabricated to look like Adidas’ model. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders reiterated in a Wednesday statement that the ball had been subject to “the security screening process that is done for all gifts,” but declined to say if any modifications had been detected. Bloomberg was careful to add, however, that this is all speculative, and there is no concrete evidence that Russia is attempting to use a soccer ball to infiltrate the U.S. government.