Clinton server hit by hack attempts from China, Germany, S. Korea

Clinton server hit by hack attempts from China, Germany, S. Korea
© Getty Images

Cyberattacks from China, South Korea and Germany targeted Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonChris Murphy’s profile rises with gun tragedies DNC, RNC step up cyber protections Gun proposal picks up GOP support MORE’s private email server after she left the Obama administration in early 2013 but were rebuffed by a “threat monitoring” product, according to a congressional letter.

But that defensive tool was not installed for a three-month window from June to October 2013, possibly leaving the server exposed to other attacks, said a letter from Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGun proposal picks up GOP support GOP lawmaker to unveil bill banning gun bump stocks Senate Homeland Security chairman backs bump-stock ban after Las Vegas shootings MORE (R-Wis.), who chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

ADVERTISEMENT
The committee is investigating Clinton’s email setup, which has come under heavy scrutiny since it was revealed that the former secretary of State exclusively used a privately-hosted personal email account during her time in the Obama administration.

Clinton’s front-runner campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination has only heightened interest in whether her account was ever hacked, possibly compromising national security.

Johnson was writing SECNAP, the security firm behind the threat monitoring device that caught the intrusion attempts. He is seeking documents related to the work the company did on Clinton’s server.

Senate investigators have already uncovered a February email from SECNAP reporting that malicious software based in China “was found running an attack against” Clinton’s server. It’s one of three attacks linked to China they discovered. Researchers also found one intrusion effort coming from Germany and another from South Korea.

It’s not clear whether the cyberattacks were run-of-the-mill attempts to crack servers that pester computer users worldwide or targeted espionage efforts.

Clinton’s campaign criticized Johnson for conducting a partisan investigation, comparing it to the House investigation of the 2012 attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, which resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

"Ron Johnson is ripping a page from the House Benghazi Committee's playbook and mounting his own, taxpayer-funded sham of an investigation with the sole purpose of attacking Hillary Clinton politically," Brian Fallon, a campaign spokesman, told the Associated Press by email. "The Justice Department is already conducting a review concerning the security of her server equipment, and Ron Johnson has no business interfering with it for his own partisan ends."

Thursday’s revelations are the second time in as many weeks that attempts to crack Clinton’s private email setup have been unveiled.

Last week, it came out that Russia-linked hackers had sent at least five fake email messages to Clinton’s account in an attempt to access her account. Cybersecurity experts identified those emails as common “phishing” attacks, a widely-used tactic among hackers.

Clinton’s team dismissed the incidents as nothing more than evidence that “like millions of other Americans, she received spam."

Unlike the Russia-linked phishing emails, the cyberattacks from China, Germany and South Korea were attempting to access Clinton’s server directly.

— Updated 3:25 p.m.