Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is backing down from a controversial statement made this week that encourages Russians to hack into Hilary Clinton’s email server.
Trump now claims he was being sarcastic. Whether he meant what he said, cyber security experts say “hacking” is a real threat.
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump said during a news conference Wednesday. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
At first, it appeared Trump was encouraging cyber espionage against the former Secretary of State. 24 hours later, Trump claims it was a joke.
“I think his comments were just reflecting on the state of cyber security and the fact that we are hacked all the time,” Alex Holden with Hold Security, LLC said.
Trump’s comment comes in the wake of a cyber attack targeting the Democratic National Committee.
Holden is not surprised thieves were able to hack into the DNC’s email server and voicemail system.
“They (the DNC) is a prominent organization that everybody has an eye on and they also have a lot of enemies and people that don’t wish them well.”
Holden says it would be easy for hackers to get a hold of Clinton’s emails if they are still somewhere on a server. However, the challenge lies when those emails or data are permanently deleted.
“It’s very difficult to retrieve them but hacks happen all the time,” Holden said.
Trump has made comments suggesting Russia may already have some of Clinton’s emails after the Democratic National Committee’s files were hacked in the spring.
The FBI has an open investigation into that matter.
Meanwhile, FBI director James B. Comey recommended earlier this month to not file charges against Clinton for her handling of classified information using her private email address and server.