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 Ron Johnson, a republican senator from Wisconsin, chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.
That means her server was possibly vulnerable to cyber attacks during that time.
Johnson’s letter to Victor Nappe, CEO of Secnap, the company that provided the threat-monitoring product, seeks a host of documents relating to the company’s work on Clinton’s server and the nature of the cyber intrusions. Johnson’s committee is investigating Clinton’s email arrangement.
Clinton has not said what, if any, firewall or threat protection was used on her email server before June 2013, including the time she was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013 and the server was kept in her home in the New York City suburbs.
A February 2014 email from Secnap reported that malicious software based in China “was found running an attack against” Clinton’s server.
In total, Senate investigators have found records describing three such attempts linked to China, one based in Germany, and one originating in South Korea. The attacks occurred in 2013 and 2014.
The letter describes four attacks, but investigators have since found records about a fifth, officials who were not authorised to discuss the matter publicly said.
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 servers the world over.
However, the new revelations underscore the extent to which any private email server is a target, raising further questions about Clinton’s decision to undertake sensitive government business over private email stored on a homemade system.