Hillary Clinton’s Personal Server Was Vulnerable to Hackers

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton / AP
October 13, 2015

Hillary Clinton’s personal email server that she ran out of her basement in Chappaqua, New York, was vulnerable to hackers because of the way in which it was wired to the Internet.

The Associated Press reported:

[The server] appeared to allow users to connect openly over the Internet to control it remotely, according to detailed records compiled in 2012. Experts said the Microsoft remote desktop service wasn’t intended for such use without additional protective measures, and was the subject of U.S. government and industry warnings at the time over attacks from even low-skilled intruders. Records show that Clinton additionally operated two more devices on her home network in Chappaqua, New York, that also were directly accessible from the Internet. One contained similar remote-control software that also has suffered from security vulnerabilities, known as Virtual Network Computing, and the other appeared to be configured to run websites.

Despite specific warnings from the federal government about this type of server setup, Clinton used the personal system to send and receive personal and work-related emails during her four years as secretary of state in the Obama administration. The system held some 55,000 pages of work-related correspondences.

These are the first details to emerge about the specifics of Clinton’s personal server set up. The former State Department computer staffer who set up Clinton’s personal server has pleaded the Fifth Amendment to avoid providing information to congressional investigators.

Clinton herself has insisted that her system featured "numerous safeguards" though she has not offered details of them. She has also denied sending or receiving information marked classified on her personal email despite the intelligence community inspector general concluding that at least two emails contained top secret information at the time they were sent. Hundreds more have since been labeled classified.

The revelations about the server’s vulnerabilities come less than a week after reports that hackers from China, South Korea, and Germany targeted Clinton’s server. Russia-linked hackers also tried to infiltrate Clinton’s personal email multiple times during her tenure as secretary of state.

Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon dismissed the newly-revealed details about Clinton’s server.

"This report, like others before it, lacks any evidence of an actual breach, let alone one specifically targeting Hillary Clinton. The Justice Department is conducting a review of the security of the server, and we are cooperating in full," Fallon said Monday.