Sep 24, 2015

The no spin zone: Hillary Clinton’s email servers and Internap


Clinton email serverSince March of this year, the media has suggested that Internap had control over or some involvement in Hillary Clinton’s emails. The latest was an article published this week by political news site, which made several inaccurate claims about Internap’s role in the hosting and management of Ms. Clinton’s private email server. While we’re not interested in getting involved in the politics of the issue, we think it’s time to set the record straight.

Contrary to what the article states and what other publications have suggested, Internap was never “paid to manage [Ms. Clinton’s] private email network.” We do not offer email services to our clients and do not manage email networks. End of story.

In this case, Internap provided IP transit and IP addresses to a customer who resold our services to its own downstream customers. We don’t control the server or the infrastructure of our customer nor our customer’s customers, which means at no point did we host Ms. Clinton’s server on Internap infrastructure.

While our customers could run email services on one of our product offerings – whether it be hosting, colocation or the IP transit services referenced here – we have no visibility into or control over these services.

To use an everyday analogy, Internap providing IP transit to customers is equivalent to your local power company providing electricity to your home. The power company has no control over how you use their electricity. Likewise, we don’t control the applications for which our customers procure our IP transit services. (We merely require that their activities comply with our Acceptable Use Policy.)

Other points of note:

  • The Breitbart article claims that Ms. Clinton’s servers went down in 2012, yet the IP block in question was not assigned to our downstream customer until June of 2014.
  • While Internap has data centers in New York, the service in question is not located in our facilities; rather, it is located in a third party’s facility.
  • The article claims that Internap was the “victim of a massive international hack,” which is simply not true. Given that we never hosted the server, it’s not true to say that we were hacked in this manner.
  • The DDoS attacks that took place at the end of 2013 and beginning of 2014 were not targeted at Internap. It is widely known that these attacks were aimed at specific industry segments and were perpetrated by an individual who was arrested or went into hiding, depending on which report you believe. Large portions of the Internet and many IP transit providers were disrupted during these attacks. Our experience was not unique.
  • Regarding the 2011 RSA attack, having five addresses on a large list isn’t surprising considering that there are constantly hosts that succumb to viruses and other malicious attackers. Internap has thousands of customers with thousands of IP addresses provided to them as part of our service. It is not uncommon for hosts to become compromised through new attack vectors or via inappropriate patching or network protection.

At Internap, we take the security of our data centers and network very seriously. Our facilities have multiple security features including round-the-clock on-site security, mantraps and fingerprint-activated biometric locks to name a few. We proactively monitor network vulnerabilities and intrusions and perform regular updates to protect against potential threats. The operational and security policies at our data centers meet the strict compliance requirements of PCI-DSS and HIPAA, and we recently partnered with Akamai to provide even more advanced web security solutions for our customers.

Internap has been in business since 1996, and our route-optimized IP service is the foundation of our high-performance Internet infrastructure solutions. If you’re looking for reliable cloud, hosting and colocation services, we’ll be happy to help. But if you need a company to host your email service, there are lots of other providers that should be able to assist you.

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