Hillary Clinton

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Since federal investigators have obtained Hillary Rodham Clinton’s homebrew email server, they could examine files on her machine that could reveal more than the emails themselves.  Last week Clinton handed over her private server to the FBI.

The server is what she used to send, receive and store emails during her four years while secretary of state. The machine is being held by the bureau in protective custody after the intelligence community’s inspector general voiced concerns about classified information on the system.

Clinton’s emails reveal some messages she wrote that were censored by the State Department for national security reasons before being released to the public. Those messages were blacked out by the government under a provision of the Freedom of Information Act, which is intended to protect material that had been classified for purposes of national defense or foreign policy.

Many details of the server still have yet to be discovered, such as whether its data was backed up. Whether the drive that Clinton used was thoroughly erased is unknown before the device was turned over to federal agents.

It’s also unclear whether the FBI could recover the data. Investigators who examine her server could find information on how it was configured, whether it received necessary security updates to fix vulnerabilities in software, or whether anyone tried to access it without permission.

A server can also offer information about who had access to the information? Did anyone try to break in to steal information? Did the owner attempt to alter the files in any way?

It’s generally impossible to forward or cut-and-paste an email marked classified to a private account due to the fact that classified email systems are closed to outsiders. However it can be illegal to paraphrase or retype classified information from a secure email into an unprotected message sent to a personal address.

According to assistant professor and director of cybersecurity at Pace University’s School of Computer Science and Information Systems in New York Darren Hayes, in most cases forensics experts could discover whether the server used encryption to transmit emails, which would be vital in learning whether her occasional email discussions of classified matters might have been vulnerable to hackers.


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