AS HEARD ON: WTAG – My First Malware – The Morris Worm: AS HEARD ON – WTAG NewsRadio 580 [10-03-17]

On This Episode…

Joined Jim today for another tech talk, and shared a quick story on security.
Back in 1991, learned it the hard way when I got a wake-up call that the internet wasn’t as friendly as it was when it started. A worm attacked my system. And, although it wasn’t something that will take down the business, I knew I had to do something about it.
Home users and small businesses are being attacked every day. If they are not well equipped or have no one to turn to, their systems become compromised.

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Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors.


Airing date: 10/03/2017


My First Malware – The Morris Worm



Jim Polito: If there’s a Jedi. If the Jedis are real, I know one of them. Yeah. And I’m talking about our good friend, the Tech Talk guru, Craig Peterson. The Jedi Master. Good morning sir.


Craig Peterson: Hey, good morning.


Jim: How are you today?


Craig: I’m doing good. I’m out meeting with Cisco. We’re going over some of their new security products and stuff. Trying to keep on top of it all.


Jim: Well, isn’t that your passion? Your avocation? Isn’t that what Craig Peterson is all about?


Craig: Well you know, Jim, there’s a story behind that statement, in fact, and it goes back to around 1991. And I had a business back then. We were doing some of the very first websites we’re building up for a large corporation. And I had my server set up, I had my email set up. Everything was going really well.


Jim: Yup.


Craig: And I had already been on the Internet for about 10 years. And it used to be just this wonderful, friendly place.


Jim: Yeah.


Craig: You know, almost everybody was on the Internet, like 80, 90 % were libertarian. And the rest were conservative. And there were no one out there doing the left-wing thing. Everybody just trusted everybody. It was a great place.


Jim: Yeah.


Craig: And then I got the wakeup call in 1991 and I will never forget it because my mail server was attacked. And I had a worm, it’s called a worm. It’s a type of malware. A worm got on to my mail server and basically took over it. Now it wasn’t an evil worm like we have today that if you get one of these things you’re likely to be out of business in about six months. Specifically this was a worm that said hey, listen guys. There’s security problems here. And it was written by, the professor’s name was Morris, and he was trying to prove to the world that bad guys could do bad things…


Jim: Oh ok.


Craig: If we didn’t secure them.


Jim: If we didn’t secure them. Okay. I get it.


Craig: So that got me thinking back in ’91. Because here I was, I was building I felt a $1 million day lottery system running out of New York City. I built all of these different things for very big businesses. And I came to realize almost immediately wow, wait a minute now, there are evil people out there who are going to try and do things. So that day in 1991 was the day I decided I needed to understand and master computer security. And ever since then that’s been kind of my focus. Although, you know, I’ve built a lot more major pieces of infrastructure for multinational corporations and things. I always have seriously considered security. And now, just this year Jim, I have turned my entire business to focus on security because there’s not enough focus on it. People don’t understand it. It’s way too complex still for businesses. It’s too complex for home users and things. And that’s why put together like if you got my start web report.


Jim: Yup.


Craig: I spent weeks putting together a 20 page report on exactly what to do, how to do it, because no one is taking this stuff, making it understandable to the average person. So that’s my background. That’s why I got into it. I’m, how long, ’91? That’s at least five years ago and you know I’ve become an expert in the field and I’m recognized in the field and in all of this stuff and yet it’s still happening. I kind of dedicated the rest of my career to helping people and particularly small businesses. I’m really starting to focus on that.


Jim: Right. They need the resources, they need the help because they don’t have the resources of the big businesses. Alright. Well let’s talk about this because we’ve been through the Equifax thing and there’s more stuff on that. And we’re talking with Craig Peterson, our Tech Talk guru. But you sent me something very interesting about the Russian election meddling.


Craig: Yeah.


Jim: And it kind of clarified what it was all about. Could you quickly explain that?


Craig: Sure. Yeah, we’ve had, of course, the Democrats are talking about the Russians and what they’re doing and their hacking and they interrupted our election, etc. Well, just last week, the current administration, the Trump administration called 21 secretaries of state and told them what information the Russians were trying to get at. What the Russian fit? Now they did not really fit because remember, President Barack Obama’s administration knew that the Russians were hacking. We now have documentation of that. They didn’t tell anybody. But Trump’s telling them and what came out from this whole thing is this hacktivity was really just probing. In other words, they were doing a remote scan of these Secretaries of State’s systems, the election systems, and general systems, just to see if there was a way in.


Jim: Oh, so basically they were testing the waters.


Craig: Yeah, exactly.


Jim: The kind of the way you would, let’s say there is a house and you’re chasing it, and you say…


Craig: And you rattle the door.


Jim: Yeah, you rattle the door. You go around. Does this fence go all the way around the house or is there an opening somewhere? Are there automatic lights that turn on if you walk near the house? You mean they’re basically doing that.


Craig: Absolutely. That’s exactly what they were doing. So we can we can debunk this hacking then.


Jim: Okay.


Craig: According to the Feds there was no hacking. And so here’s what happened. The AP had to call, the Associated Press, had to call all 50 states Secretary of State’s offices to ask them because the Feds didn’t come out with a press release. And so every Secretary of State’s office was contacted by the media saying if you get a call from the Feds, was there hacking? What was the hack? And there’s only one state in New England that had received this phone call saying you know, somebody walked around your house and rattled a few doors. And that was Connecticut.


Jim: Wow.


Craig: None of our other New England states, according to what we’ve been able to find here, and according to the Feds, none of the other states were even close, let alone hacked. And none of the states were hacked according to what they found.


Jim: So, the only one they were interested in was Connecticut. Or the only one that really we have any evidence of them trying to get into was Connecticut.


Craig: Exactly.


Jim: Wow.


Craig: Yeah.


Jim:  They were looking for something there in the Nutmeg State.


Craig; Exactly. And so now we have California’s Secretary of State, of course a Democrat, who is expressing his disappointment over insufficient security. But wait a minute, your state system. We have 50 states right?


Jim: Right. And those systems are controlled by the states, not by the federal government, even in a presidential election.


Craig: A hundred percent. Right? So he’s saying it’s entirely unacceptable that Homeland Security took over a year to let us know about the Russians scanning our systems. Well you should probably talk to your Democrat presidents as well who also didn’t tell you anything new. So President Trump, as he’s going in here you, is trying to get information out trying to make sure people understand what was happening. And it’s just incredible here that we didn’t know tat the Feds are saying all it was was a probe and there were only    21 states that we could find that had their electrical systems.


Jim: Wow. That’s incredible. That’s big news. That’s very, very big news. And you’re not hearing…


Craig: Yeah. And you noticed it’s above the fold, right? On the Times, the New York Times? Isn’t it above the fold?


Jim: Wait a minute. I wasn’t quick enough. Above the fold on the New York Times. Oh my God. Craig, you are above the folds sir. So if people text my name, Jim, to this number, what is the number?


Craig: It’s 855-385-5553. That’s 855-385-5553.


Jim: They’ll get this information and they’ll hear a lot of other things including more information about Equifax and other issues. Craig Peterson will not hack, you will not take your email and sell it on the dark web. Don’t worry about it. Standard data and text rates apply. Craig, fascinating analysis. The Russians went after Connecticut but all they were doing is probing. Very, very interesting. Craig, thanks so much for your time buddy.


Craig: You too. Thanks Jim. Take care.


Jim: You too.



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