Maksim Kabakou - Fotolia

Get started Bring yourself up to speed with our introductory content.

Clinton email server probe highlights government security issues

Listen to this podcast

In this Risk & Repeat podcast, SearchSecurity editors discuss the security lessons of the Hillary Clinton email server probe and the state of federal government cybersecurity.

While former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton escaped charges related to her much-criticized personal email server, the FBI's probe resulted in a scathing rebuke of the State Department's lacking security culture.

The Clinton email server probe officially ended last week as FBI Director James Comey announced that the bureau would not seek charges against Clinton for using a personal email server, rather than the official State Department email system, to receive and send classified information, including top-secret data. But Comey offered sharp criticism of how Clinton and her staff operated the email server, claiming they were "extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information."

"While not the focus of our investigation, we also developed evidence that the security culture of the State Department in general, and with respect to use of unclassified email systems in particular, was generally lacking in the kind of care for classified information found elsewhere in the government," Comey said during his press conference.

Questions about the security of Clinton's email server have swirled for years, but the FBI probe, the Office of Inspector General's report in May and various news media investigations have revealed major shortcomings with how both Clinton and the State Department handle email security. Specifically, the FBI discovered that Clinton's email server setup wasn't supported by a full-time security staff. The Inspector General's report, meanwhile, showed that a staff member simply shut the email server down during a suspected cyberattack.

Why was Clinton's email server security so inadequate? What does this email episode reveal about the security culture within the federal government? Will this be a turning point for how government agencies handle and protect sensitive and classified data? In this episode of SearchSecurity's Risk & Repeat podcast, editors Rob Wright and Peter Loshin discuss those questions and more related topics about the Clinton email server controversy.

Next Steps

Risk & Repeat: Project Zero finds more critical Symantec bugs

Risk & Repeat: Acer breach highlights payment security shortcomings

Risk & Repeat: Ransomware worm raises concerns for enterprises

Join the conversation


Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

What affect will the Clinton email probe have on federal government cybersecurity practices, if any?
None at all, I fear. Those in power (or those who assume power) are granted (or simply take) enormous leeway, creating a wide swatch between right and wrong. Of course there'll be new laws and new regulations and new restrictions, but there will be commensurate loopholes to bypass every obstruction. None of this is new with Clinton; she's actually one of the more innocent despite being endlessly dogged by the opposition party, But the urge, the need, the imperative to forge a separate path is simply part of America by now.  
I bet it won't happen again. The firestorm over this has been fun to watch. If it had been any other government employee they would have lost their job at the minimum. In this case it's all politics and deniability, plus running for president. Like they said it was careless. My question would be what happened to the person(s) who set it up for her?? They should know the same regulations on confidential electronic communications. Nobody is hearing this in the news. If someone in her position can break policy then what is to stop it again in the future?