Hillary Clinton’s hacked emails are “a treasure trove” for hackers
Hillary Clinton and her campaign have repeatedly said that their emails are secure and that the Russians have used them to influence the 2016 election.
But a new report published Tuesday by a cybersecurity firm says that there are more than a dozen instances of “malicious activity” that appeared to be connected to Clinton campaign emails.
The findings are part of a larger report from the firm CrowdStrike, which has said that it has evidence that Russian intelligence services have been collecting and sharing emails from Democratic candidates.
The report from CrowdStrike said that the most common instances of activity tied to the hacked emails included: A campaign manager requesting a meeting with a top aide to Clinton in a Russian government office, for example, or requesting classified information from her staff.
A campaign staffer requesting an update on a meeting or a briefing on a foreign policy topic, such as a new nuclear arms deal.
A staffer requesting access to classified information on Clinton’s private server.
A private investigator who provided information to a campaign manager about a campaign donor.
The company said that this activity “appears to be related to Russian intelligence activities.”
CrowdStrike noted that “the most common types of malware used in these attacks are ‘malicious code’ (a malicious executable) and ‘targets’ (an attack vector).”
“As such, the majority of the malware used appears to have originated from Russia,” the company said.
“While it is too early to determine the source of these attacks, CrowdStrike’s analysis suggests that they are likely to have been launched from a Russian Government-sponsored group.”
The company’s report comes days after the FBI released a report alleging that Russia was behind a series of cyberattacks targeting the U.S. political process that targeted Republican and Democratic campaigns.
The Russian Government has denied any involvement in the cyberattacks.
The latest CrowdStrike report, which also said that Russian officials had been actively monitoring the email accounts of U.K. officials, could have ramifications for both the FBI and the U-K.
The U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy has been critical of the way that the Clinton campaign handled its emails, and the report released Tuesday could provide further fodder for her political opponents.
“I would say that this is a treasure trove of documents for anyone who is interested in trying to understand what was going on in that campaign,” Trump surrogate Bill O’Reilly told CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“I think the fact that there were so many different sources and so many disparate ways that the campaign was being hacked, I think that’s pretty damning.”
The FBI and Clinton’s campaign have denied any collusion, but the report does raise questions about whether the Clinton team was trying to avoid embarrassing the country’s top diplomat, or just trying to protect their own personal emails.
According to CrowdStrike analysis, the Russian group “targeted” the Clinton email servers on four occasions, including one instance that appeared “more like an attempt to mask the nature of the operation.”
The team also attempted to conceal the nature and severity of the attacks by hiding the data that they collected.
The malware used by the Russian Government targeted the email servers, including by “switching from ‘hidden’ to ‘full’ mode,” CrowdStrike wrote.
That meant the server’s server logs were destroyed, and all of the messages and attachments that were sent to the server were also deleted.
That could have compromised the server and rendered it vulnerable to a future attack, the company concluded.
A Clinton campaign staffer said that she received an email that was sent to her from a “Russian intelligence operative.”
The staffer, who asked to remain anonymous, said that when she opened the email, it showed that the message had been sent from a server in a U.L.K.’s office in St. Petersburg.
The server, however, was in a government-run building.
“The operative was in St Petersburg,” the staffer said.
The email “contained a photo of the candidate and a photograph of a Russian intelligence operative, but did not contain any sensitive information.”