AS HEARD ON: WTAG – Technology Behind Russian Hacks – How Do Criminals Use VPNs – Facebook VPN Spying: AS HEARD ON – WTAG NewsRadio 580 [02-20-18]
On This Episode…
Have you wondered how Russia manipulated Facebook, and was able to place ads? Jim Polito and Craig delved into ongoing Russian hacking campaigns and Facebook’s plans to prevent foreign entities during future election cycles.
Election machines are vulnerable, and States are talking about throwing away their newly-purchased technology. What else can they use?
VPNs don’t always keep you safe. Sometimes they steal your privacy. Listen to how Facebook’s “Free” VPN actually makes you less safe.
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Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors.
Airing date: 02/20/2018
Technology Behind Russian Hacks – How Do Criminals Use VPNs – Facebook VPN Spying
Craig Peterson: [00:00:00] Hi everybody. Craig Peterson here again. Of course by now you probably recognize my voice. But hey there are a lot of people that join us, brand new and welcome to you. Welcome aboard. We try and keep everyone up to date on all of the latest news and topics. And I’m a regular guest on radio and television all over the world in fact. And so what I’ve been doing with this podcast is I’ve been including some of those interviews right here. Some of the regular ones. This morning I covered most of the state of Mass., parts of Vermont and Maine. Well we didn’t really get Maine. That’s tomorrow. And Rhode Island and Connecticut and even New York State. And we talked with Jim Polito. And now we talked about a couple of different things. One of course we had to talk about the Russians and the hacking. We talked about what they have done. How they did it. How they got away with it. What Facebook is doing to try and prevent this in the future. You know we’ll see how that all goes. Right. We talked about the hacking and potential hacking of election machines. What we should do about our voting machines. I think great solutions. And then we of course got into the bottom line here on VPNs and what you can do to keep your data safe. And a little hint that is part of the technology the Russians used to place the ads with Facebook. So what should you do? What do they mean? We explained it in simple terms all with Jim Polito. Here we go.
Jim Polito: [00:01:34] All right here he is. He’s a great guy. He’s on top of everything. He’s ahead of the curve and everything tech. I’m talking about our Tech Talk guru and good friend Craig Peterson. Good morning sir. Craig Peterson. There we go. All right. How are you buddy?
Craig: [00:01:58] Doing good. Looking forward tomorrow. I’m getting my bike out. I’m going to do a little riding tomorrow.
Jim: [00:02:03] Well listen 70 degrees to a Canadian. You may have to take salt tablets and quinine.
Craig: [00:02:13] It’s a summer’s day.
Jim: [00:02:14] Yeah, I know. It’s beautiful. Yeah it’s beautiful. No it is. Isn’t it? Aren’t you? And unfortunately though Tommy B tells us Thursday some mixed precipitation. But we’ll take it for a 70 degree day.
Craig: [00:02:25] Yeah I got my helmet plugged in, charging up because of course you know I’m a tech guy. Right?
Jim: [00:02:32] Yeah. You and wacky with this stuff. I want to have my GoPro and all that. Is this true? It is. It’s insanity. It’s, you’re going to become.
Craig: [00:02:42] Hey folks he knows that and we haven’t gone riding together yet. OK. You must be an oracle. Right?
Jim: [00:02:52] Hold on. Hold on. Well. I know what Craig Peterson has. Craig, I know exactly what you’re doing. I know your type Peterson. This I want to talk about because it’s so funny. Facebook and fake news. So, but I want to talk about it in the context of last Friday. And there’s a tie in to today. All right. Let’s start here. Did you know that on this day in 1792, President George Washington signed the Postal Service Act which created our post office right? Or is techies like you call it snail mail. You guys started that whole thing. You guys started it. Oh that’s snail mail, not like 20 years ago. So meanwhile I’m reading an article that says in order to prevent Russians from placing political ads on Facebook for US elections, Facebook is going to, wait for it, send us a snail mail postcard with a code on it. And it has to go to a U.S. address. And then you type in that code to be able to buy the ad. So you can’t be in Tunisia or Bangladesh on a computer trying to buy an ad in a race for governor of Illinois on Facebook you know or some type of political ad. Isn’t that incredible that with all of this, we need to go back to the post office. Facebook has to go back to the post office to make sure that the people who are posting are actually who they say they are yeah Jim this is such a huge deal.
Craig: [00:04:43] Yeah, Jim. This is such a huge deal. You know we’ve talked before about the various hacks that have occurred. And do we know where it came from? And that’s always the first thing you look at. Well in reality you don’t because the Russians, for instance, with the 13 indictments that came out on Friday we found out that they were actually coming from a U.S. address at least as far as the internet is concerned.
Jim: [00:05:08] Right. As far as the internet is concerned.
Craig: [00:05:11] Exactly. So they were in Russia. They probably hop through a couple of different countries and came to the U.S. Now this is just common as common can be. There are a lot of companies that offer the technology called VPN which is Virtual Private Network. We use it all the time, right, when we’re connecting into the office, when we’re on the road, because it keeps your data safe and it lets you look like you’re a local. Bu t people all around the world want U.S. access. And for lots of reasons right. Netflix for instance. They have special code that tries to detect these VPN service companies because you cannot get in the Netflix movies in Canada you can get here. You cannot get Netflix in most parts of the world. Hulu, name all of these big streaming companies. They are restrictive in what they allow you to do and see or even use. So there is a huge industry that’s built here in the U.S. and it’s for that very reason. You don’t know where someone’s coming from. And what they’ve done. Now by adding in this little extra step where they’ll send to a postcard for instance via the U.S. mail and then you have to enter in that code. They now have you under the mail fraud statutes if you are a foreigner. Do you see the little trick here?
Jim: [00:06:42] Yeah. I mean it makes sense. Mail fraud isn’t sexy but it’s how the feds catch a lot of people.
Craig: [00:06:52] Exactly. IRS tax evasion, right? And so that’s what they’re doing here. And it’s legitimate. Did you look at these ads, Jim, that they were running on Facebook? You know there’s this ad and it has a picture of Satan there with his pitchfork. And it says Satan “A vote for Hillary is a vote for me.” And then underneath it it says Jesus you know a vote against Hillary is a vote for Jesus. And who would click on an ad like that? I don’t get it. They just weren’t effective. They didn’t understand this. That’s today right. What are we going to do next cycle? What are we to do this fall? And I love seeing that so more and more states are now going to paper ballots. They’re getting rid of not only the paperless machines where they’re running Windows XP. Are you kidding me?
Jim: [00:07:48] No Windows XP. That maybe with a little practice I could crack. Right? And I’m an idiot.
Craig: [00:07:55] Exactly. It takes 10 minutes on Google and you’re done, right? It’s running Windows XP and some of them are installing audit trails, paper audit trails, which I still don’t trust. But some states like Georgia they’re talking about ripping it out and using what is probably the best compromise possible in this day and age. And that is you have a card, you have a pen, you fill in the oval. And then you put it in a machine and the machine reads it. Now that machine could still potentially be hacked. The machine that upstream from it that’s collating all of the information. Collating and putting it together. That machine could potentially be hacked. But you know if something smells fishy you have the original paper ballots back to you. And you can spot check them right? You just, you manually go and you grab the machine and you manually check the ballots to make sure everything looks pretty good. Much harder to fake. So I’m glad they’re doing that. And speaking of VPN, just real quick Jim, you got to be careful. Facebook is offering a VPN service for free. Yeah. And Facebook’s VPN service for free is supposed to keep your information safe. It does not. It’s actually monitoring everything you’re doing.
Jim: [00:09:22] Really? Why don’t you just, for some people who don’t completely understand VPN, what it means in simple terms so that you can log on to your personal computer anywhere.
Craig: [00:09:34] Right. Well here’s the idea. If you’re in an airport and you’re using Wi-Fi. If you’re at the coffee shop and you’re using Wi-Fi, you can be monitored. You can be tracked. And so businesses have been using this for a long time so that your computer now connects via very heavy encryption all the way to the office computers and no one in between can see what you’re doing. So now there is more and more of the regular people. You know, the Jim Politos of the world are out there saying well I want my information to be safe. I don’t want it to be spied on by Russia or the NSA or anybody. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to use a VPN just like I use at the office. So it’s software. It runs on your computer and connects to a remote server. The problem here is once the data is at the remote server. it is no longer encrypted. So with Facebook’s VPN yeah okay your data is nice and safe until it gets to Facebook’s vendor who now has to decrypt it and give you access to what you wanted. You know the Facebook site or your e-mail or whatever it is. However the vendor they’re using is well known for collecting data on everyone that uses it. And they’re probably giving it right back to Facebook. So be careful and maybe I should do a special thing offline. Do a little webinar for everybody on VPNs. But it’s great technology. But the VPN that Facebook is offering you for free is anything but safe. There’s some really great articles out there right now. The allegations are just incredible.
Jim: [00:11:10] Craig Peterson folks. See? All I have to do is sign it up and Craig Peterson does. He’s incredible. So let’s get folks the number that they can text my name to so they can get this information. And a lot of other great information from Craig Peterson our Tech Talk guru. Standard data and text rates apply. What is that number Craig?
Craig: [00:11:33] 855-385-5553. That’s 855-385-5553.
Jim: [00:11:41] All right. And standard data and text rates apply. Craig, that’s incredible. And I’m glad that you gave us all of that information. I’m looking through all the other stuff that we didn’t have time to get to. There’s a lot of great things in here. People need to know. You need to know so you need to be on board with Craig. He will not sell your address to Facebook. He will not give the information to Facebook. He will protect it and he won’t bother you with a lot of annoying e-mails and messages. Just enough to keep you informed. And especially when there is some type of a crisis in hacking. That’s when Craig really comes in handy. Sir, thank you so much.
Craig: [00:12:28] Thanks Jim. Take care.
Jim: [00:12:30] Alight. Craig Peterson everybody. Don’t go anywhere. We get a final word when we return.
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