We’ve known for months that Hillary Clinton’s use of private email for official business was a security nightmare. Now we’re starting to learn a little bit about how that nightmare unfolded. Hackers from at least three countries targeted her servers after she left office in 2013.
This shouldn’t be a surprise, although it is pretty disconcerting. A congressional document obtained by the Associated Press says that Clinton’s servers were the subject of attacks from China, South Korea, and Germany. This detail from the AP report is pretty bad:
While the attempts were apparently blocked by a “threat monitoring” product that Clinton’s employees connected to her network in October 2013, there was a period of more than three months from June to October 2013 when that protection had not been installed, according to a letter from Republican senator Ron Johnson, chairman of the homeland security and government affairs committee. That means her server was possibly vulnerable to cyber-attacks during that time.
The AP added:
It was not immediately clear whether the attempted intrusions into Clinton’s server were serious espionage threats or the sort of nuisance attacks that hit computer servers the world over.
This risk was immediately clear from the moment we learned that Hillary Clinton, a frontrunner in the 2016 presidential election, made highly sensitive information less secure by using a private email server. Clinton said that she did so to avoid juggling multiple devices—although now we know that excuse was bullshit. The congressional investigation is now revealing all kinds of things about how she was emailing classified information over private lines and getting hacked around the same time. But of course she was.
It remains unclear how this slow-burning scandal will unfold. Hopefully it’s just more embarrassing news for this politician who wants to be president. In the worst-case scenario, some hackers indeed got in, and we just don’t know it yet. But we do know that they were trying.