One of the companies hired to manage Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMeghan McCain: 'SNL' parodies made me feel like 'laughing stock of the country' Hill: Trump reelection would spur 'one constitutional crisis after another' Trump defends indicted GOP congressman MORE’s private server was warned last summer that potentially sensitive information on her machine was not protected with encryption protocols designed to thwart potential hackers, according to new emails released by Congress.
Last summer, as the FBI was beginning what would become a yearlong investigation into the private server Clinton used while secretary of State, a Connecticut company in charge of backing up her server sent a warning to Platte River Networks, the Colorado-based firm that had managed her primary machine since 2013.
“[W]e have some concerns relative to data security,” the Connecticut storage firm, Datto, told Platte River Networks in an August 2015, email
“Platte has not enabled encryption at the local device. Given the sensitive, high-profile nature of the data which is alleged in press reports to potentially reside on the Datto device, it may be the target of cyber attack from a multitude of highly sophisticated and capable entities or individuals,” it added. “We believe such an event could place the unencrypted data itself at risk, as well as expose both Datto and Platte River systems to collateral damage.”
Encrypted devices protect information on the machines by using algorithms to scramble the information's appearance to anyone without a specific password or security key.
Because it would have been impossible to encrypt the machine without deleting the information it contained — which might run afoul of the FBI’s investigation and other legal demands — Datto sent Platte River Networks a replacement machine onto which it could copy the contents of Clinton’s server.
“We would recommend you enable encryption on a replacement device,” general counsel Michael Fass wrote. “In its current state, however, the device, and the data that is stored thereon ... is more vulnerable to cyberattack than Datto believes is prudent under the circumstances.”
Datto followed up on the concern in a separate message a day later.
Both emails were among a set of messages released by the Republican chairman of the House Science Committee late on Monday, as part of its investigation into the data security of Clinton’s setup. The FBI has claimed that more than 100 messages on Clinton’s machine contained information classified at the time that it was sent, however investigators have not discovered any evidence that hackers successfully broke in.
The message from Datto to Platte River Networks would have been sent months after Clinton’s use of a private email system became public.
It’s unclear whether the information on Clinton’s machine was ever encrypted to block possible hackers. In October, Datto told an FBI special agent that it did “not know if the replacement device was used as recommended.”