[03-22-17] The WGAN Morning News
How much more for consumer-level, and home users who are migrating their appliances to smart devices, now that even your microwaves can be a way to hack into your private lives.
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Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors.
Airing date: 03/22/2017
Washington DC Cellphone Hack Underway
Craig Peterson: This morning with Ken and Matt on WGAN and other stations throughout the state of Maine, we talked a little bit about the circumstances down in Washington, DC. What is happening? How is that affecting us? Are we getting the stingray technology? And I played a little bit of stump the host.
(WGAN INTRO) Tech guru, Craig Peterson is on right now on the WGAN Morning News with Ken and Matt.
Matt Gagnon: That’s a pretty cool intro.
Ken Altshuler: Wow.
Matt: Is that new?
Ken: Wow. Yeah.
Matt: Craig Peterson gets his own announcement? That’s pretty neat.
Ken: How do you like that Mr. Peterson?
Craig: Wow. I got a promotion.
Matt: Craig Peterson on the WGAN Morning News. Please welcome.
Ken: Big voice guy.
Matt: Big voice.
Ken: So Mr. Peterson, before we talk about something more important topics, a red iPhone. I mean, doesn’t everyone buy this red iPhone immediately for $800 or so?
Craig: Well, you bought one right?
Ken: No. But I do have some stock. Not a lot of stock, but I have like 5 shares in Apple so I think this will help me a little bit.
Craig: Well they’re saying that yeah, in fact, Apple’s looking to really go up when you talk about investors. A lot of them, you know, Warren Buffett being one of them, are saying that all of these different things that Apple has in the queue are really going to drive up the stock price and earnings. So there’s some amazing things happening. Surprisingly enough, right? Because if you ask me, the bean counters have taken over there.
Matt: We’re talking to Craig Peterson, our tech guru as we always do at this time on Wednesdays and I have to start asking you about suspicious cellular activity in Washington, DC. I used to live there so was I compromised or is this a new thing? Is this all the Russians? What’s going on?
Craig: Yeah. This is kind of a scary thing here frankly. I’ve been warning for a long time about problems with our switching systems. There’s a protocol developed back in the 1980s called SS7 and it’s used to route phone calls. So for instance, Matt, you want to call Ken. And…
Matt: No, I don’t.
Matt: Not very often.
Craig: You’re on Verizon and Ken is on the cheapest possible phone service you can imagine. Ok?
Matt: That is probably accurate, yeah. Carry on.
Craig: Ok. And so what happens is you dial his number and your phone’s talking to a local cell tower. That cell tower’s data is hauled to a switch for your phone company. And then your phone company says hey, does anybody know where Ken is? And you know, there’s discussions back and forth and then finally somebody says yeah. I know where Ken is. I’m really oversimplifying this. And so your phone company gives the call to this other company that says that they know where Ken is. And so now that company goes ahead and hands the call off to Ken’s phone and you guys can yell at each other even after the show.
Matt: We would never do that.
Craig: So what’s happening before is that last year, calls in the Washington, DC area were being routed through Moscow because apparently what happened is the Russians did a little minor hack and then fortunately it’s only minor to tell phone systems in Washington, DC, hey yeah. I know where the head of the CIA is. He is over here. Right? So the call then gets switched. Goes to Moscow. They do their thing and then they send it back the US and pretty much no one’s the wiser. Now, that was kind of a shot across the bow about a year ago and a lot of us had been complaining about it and worried about it. Well, just this year, right about when President Trump came into office, the Department of Homeland Security started a new program. Have you guys heard of stingrays? Do you know what a… not the fish.
Ken: Do you mean the fish? No.
Matt: Isn’t that what killed Steve Irwin?
Craig: Yeah, exactly. Well, not the fish, but the police have been using fake cell towers. You’ve heard of that, right?
Matt: I’m going to go and lie to you and say yes. Yes I have.
Ken: I can’t lie to you. I have to say no.
Matt: I read about it all the time.
Craig: Yeah. Well stingrays are what are used by everyone from local police departments all the way up to the FBI. And initially they were putting these in place. They were denying they even existed. But they’ve been around for quite a few years now. And it’s a fake cell tower. So they’ve been putting these things in various locations. You know, near drug dealers, etcetera. Etcetera. So, the idea is the drug dealer’s cellphone is going to say hey, I need to make a call and it’ll talk to the stingray device that pretends to be the local cell tower for company x. And then your call goes through that so guess what? The police can monitor it. They can read your texts. They can listen to your calls. Etcetera. Etcetera. And then the police’s stingray then goes ahead and sends it on to the real phone company.
So that’s been going on. We found stingrays in Washington, DC as well, that hopefully were being used for police activity and legally. Now the Department of Homeland Security has found that this new program, the one on place when Trump came into office, has shown that there is activity going on in Washington, DC that we didn’t expect. That apparently, the location of cellphones, the cellphones themselves, their data and maybe other stuff is being monitored and stolen and intercepted by a third party, an unknown apparently at this time, third party. So it could be anybody. It’s probably not us, ok? The NSA has much easier ways to track all of our cellphone calls. So that means this is probably the Chinese, the Russians, the Iranians, the who knows who who is doing this in Washington, DC. And it all boils down to the software written in the 1980s that has some serious bugs. Sound familiar? Are you guys running Windows 3.11 on your computers? Or maybe you upgraded?
Ken: No. Windows 10.
Craig: Oh, ok. So you’ve upgraded your software that is no longer 30, 40 years old because of what? Security, right? Well this SS7 that the phone companies is using, that protocol? Good enough for them but it’s not good enough for today. We’ve got to get that updated. And I can tell you. Just like with the CIA leaks, it’s going to happen. This software will get updated and our phone system will get safer. But for now, they found that cell towers near the Pentagon, near the White House, and various other serious locations in Washington, DC have apparently been compromised.
Ken: Craig Peterson joining us. By the way, you can always go to http://CraigPeterson.com. Sign up to get his newsletter and get all the latest tech information. You know Craig, you keep talking about Russians. Russians and technology and wiretapping and hacking. Always seem to be in the news. It was some connection to a heist that was pulled off by some Russian techies. What was that all about?
Craig: Oh that’s an interesting one too because much of the hacking coming from Russia is the bad guys. It’s just good old, you know, mob-type stuff that’s going on. But this is interesting. Probably the biggest hack ever occurred against our friends at Yahoo. You’ve heard of that I’m sure.
Craig: 500 million accounts, right? Maybe a billion. Well it turns out that that was perpetrated by couple of former Russian spies who had hired some hackers. Some of the best in the world. So it only took four guys in Russia to break into and steal account information. All of your account information from Yahoo. And we have now charged them. They’re criminally charged. We’ve registered it with the International Police and said hey listen. We want them extradited. Of course Russia is not going to comply. In fact one of these hackers moved to Russia after we have indicted
him for another hack. But the Russians, guess what they’re doing? Have you heard of Kevin Mitnick? Have you guys ever heard of this guy?
Matt: Kevin Mitnick.
Ken: I’m going to lie to you at this time and say yes, but I haven’t.
Matt: I’m not doing well today for you Craig. Sorry. I haven’t.
Craig: Ok. We’re batting not a thousand…
Matt: Yeah. But nope.
Craig: It’s warm up time. Kevin Mitnick, big hacker. Hired by the FBI. How about a guy that’s been on my radio show before? Have you heard of the FBI hiring this guy who had hacked into the… he had hacked airlines. Played by, now I’m trying to remember the guy’s name. Frank Abagnale.
Matt: Now you don’t remember things.
Craig: Frank Abagnale.
Matt: Oh yeah. That’s from Catch Me If You Can.
Craig: Catch Me If You Can. Exactly. I’ve talked to him. I’ve interviewed him before in my show. So you’ve heard of him. The FBI hires these hackers. This gets me upset, right? Why are they hiring the bad guys? So that’s what the Russians have done. They hired these hackers. They hired the guys that hacked Yahoo now. They’re under protection of the Federal, what’s it called now? Used to be the KGB. But there are other…
Ken: Called the Presidency. Presidency.
Matt: Vladimir Putin.
Craig: Yeah, ultimately. Yeah, exactly. And they’re using them to keep their countries safe as well as maybe them putting more hacks in place. So, you know, just because the democrats are saying the Russians did it doesn’t mean they didn’t, ok?
Ken: Hmm. There you go. Craig Peterson joining us. And by the way, Craig, before we let you go, Amazon’s Alexa can now be used on your iPhone but why would I rather use Alexa than Siri? Or do I use both? Or are they going to be married? I mean is this like a…
Matt: Do you even know what Alexa is?
Ken: It’s a voice-activated thing.
Matt: Yeah, but what’s the thing that it activates?
Ken: That thing so you do it to your iPhone. Right?
Matt: But it’s a thing though. Like you can… it’s like speaker, you can control your…
Ken: It’s like Sonos but it’s a voice thing.
Craig: Well it’s a home automation controller.
Ken: Yeah, exactly.
Craig: To boil it down, that’s what Alexa does.
Ken: There you go.
Craig: it also lets you order things from Amazon. So your little daughter, and this has happened before, granddaughter, orders a Barbie doll.
Ken: Yeah. I was going to say.
Craig: Yeah right? Exactly. But yeah. Why would you want it Ken? Well, because you want to order stuff from Amazon. You want to talk to it and that’s what you can do now.
Matt: Because you’re lonely and you want somebody to talk to right?
Craig: Yeah. You can talk to one of your girlfriends. You can talk to Alexa or Siri. But why would you want to use it over Siri? No. Siri’s fully integrated with your iPhone. Alexa is not. It allows you to do some of the home automation tasks. It allows you to order things and find things online. But that’s the basic of the difference. You’re going to stick with Siri. Almost certainly. And use Alexa when you maybe want to talk to the Amazon app to find something or order something.
Matt; Alright, Craig Peterson, our tech guru joins us every Wednesday at this time to give us an update on technology and the world around us. Thank you so much Craig. Appreciate it. We’ll talk again next week.
Craig: Gentlemen take care. Thanks.
Matt: Alright. You too.