[2017-03-13] NH Today – Tech Talk
- CIA Leaks Unsurprisingly Show The Internet Of Broken Things Is A Spy’s Best Friend
- The CIA Didn’t Break Signal or WhatsApp, Despite What You’ve Heard
- CIA Leak Shows Mobile Phones Vulnerable, Not Encryption
- Apple says it’s working to fix security holes revealed by the WikiLeaks release of CIA documents
- Google says it fixed a lot of the security holes the CIA exploited
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Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors.
Airing date: 03/13/2017
Is the CIA Following Their Mandate
Craig Peterson: Hi Craig Peterson here. This morning throughout parts of the Northeast I talked with Jack Heath on his morning radio drive time show a little bit about Wikileaks, how the CIA is handling this, handling the data. What they were doing? Are they getting into our lives or they’re sticking with their mandate?
Jack Heath: Joining us now in the Auto Fair listener line is a little Tech Talk, Craig Peterson. Of course his show airs on the weekend on the iHeart side of things. Craig, good morning.
Craig: Good morning Jack.
Jack: Alright Craig, on the tech side of things, still coming out of the weekend, some folks including John McCain who’s been a fairly regular critic of the new president is saying where’s the proof from the justice department of any wiretapping or bugging at Trump Tower prior to the election. That’s a story that’s gonna continue. Do you think there will be proof put forward or not?
Craig: Well, it’s hard to say. It depends on what proof is you know. Did Trump’s organization find a bug there in Trump Tower? You know that would be proof. Pull it out and say here it is and on the back here it says CIA or NSA or somebody, right?
Jack: But you said before the show you don’t have to, like the old-fashioned days when you see like the FBI trying to monitor the mob boss they’re gonna get into the room and put a bug on the desk, or the light, or on the phone. Today this is wireless surveillance, correct?
Craig: The odds that they’ve actually put a physical bug in there are almost zero. You’re right. Because now, as it came out in Wikileaks stamp here, we know that the CIA as well as the NSA, if they’re targeting someone, can turn on things like this Samsung TV, the microphone that’s in there. We know also that one of these companies out there that makes televisions got nailed. They had to pay a big fine because it was monitoring people and sending it back to South Korea. So, you know, there’s so many ways to tap. There’s no way to really know because you can’t hear the guy picking up the phone on the other end as they’re trying to record or listen in. Yeah, this isn’t like the 70s or 80s.
Jack: And the only way to really do it is if they have like a special court order or something which it may not have been that spelled out. It may have been more of a FBI or Justice Department probe of indirect subject that touched upon… so we’ll see, we’ll see. What else is coming up on the tech side?
Craig: I suspect, Jack, and what might have happened is, you know, he sat down with his people and said what’s with all these leaks? What’s happening here? And we know that at least one conversation with the Russian ambassador was apparently recorded and transcribed. So he said, where were we at the time? What was going on? Ok, we must have been tapped. The CIA we know isn’t, well we don’t know, but they don’t have a mandate to tap American citizens. We know from what has been released so far from Wikileaks, the CIA has not been casting a wide net. You know the NSA did and does apparently still try and capture all the data they can on the citizens. But the CIA’s tools, Jack, are designed to go after an individual person. So they say hey, listen. We wanna find out what these people are saying. They can go ahead and listen in on that individual. It’s not the sort of tool that you just set it out and capture every phone call, every text message, etcetera. Etcetera.
The other thing we’ve learned from this document dumped so far. And as he said, and I think you mentioned Jack, it’s less than 1% of the total documents that Wikileaks has. But one of the things that we’ve learned from it is the government has a heck of a time trying to break the encryption that’s being used right now by our smart devices. So in order to listen in to what we’re saying, they have to go to great lengths to break into the device. So apps like Signal, which is the one recommend people use if they have confidential communications about their families.
Craig: Or finances. Signal. Yes. It’s name of the app. Signal. Very, very good app. Edward Snowden recommends it.
Jack: Therefore it must be good.
Craig: It must be good. WhatsApp is another one another people use. So we know from the dumps that the encryption apparently is just too hard for them break. So what they do now is they’re trying to break in to all of these devices. And it’s come to the point, Jack, where they’re calling it the internet of broken things. That was the theme for my show over the weekend. Of broken things because our refrigerators, our lightbulbs, we’ve talked about this a million times. Those devices don’t have the security they need. They don’t get the software updates. The security patches. Everything else. And from this document dump, Jack, it’s a treasure trove for the CIA. So you’ve gotta bet it’s a treasure trove for other foreign country’s intelligence services. And it’s also a treasure trove for the bad guys who are trying to listen in.
Jack: And it’s interesting you know, the FBI’s looking for whoever did this Wikileaks CIA hacking tools dump. Definitely it was a leak and they kind pointed to outside contractors. Does that really matter? I mean, who cares if it came from a full time CIA operative, an outside contractor with complete access. But that’s how they’re… we’ll how it progresses.
Craig: We’ll see how it progresses. That’s Edward Snowden, right? He was a contractor working for the NSA. And he grabbed these tools. And, you know, there’s a few different types of people that would release this. The Russians, for instance, if they had their hands on that and they wanted to make the US look weak or bad. The Russians or the Chinese.
Jack: Yeah, you can’t forget the Russians, we got to keep them in the news.
Craig: We got to keep them in the news. Exactly. And they could be an employee who’s disgruntled. And it could be someone, a contractor or employee who says, you know the CIA has overstepped its bounds. I haven’t seen anything yet that would lead me to believe that the CIA has really been overstepping its bounds. I think this is its mandate. As long as they’re not surveilling US citizens, I think they’re well within their charter.
Jack: Alright. Craig Peterson, we appreciate it. Of course, people tomorrow will be using technology most likely and they have to do working from home on the sofa as they say. Thanks Craig.
Craig: Take care Jack, bye-bye.