Russians and Untraceable Food Assassinations and Atlanta Ransomware Attack: AS HEARD ON – WTAG NewsRadio 580 [04-03-18]

On This Episode…

What are the Russians up to now?  Jim and Craig talk about their latest chilling new cold war tactic – untraceable food assassinations.


Can you go on with your daily life if you lose your power for days, weeks or even months? Jim and Craig tell you what some of the hackers have in mind for our electric grid and why you need to be concerned.

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

Airing date: 04/03/2018

Sending Machines To Assassinate – Grid Under Major Attack – How To Protect Your Small Business


Craig Peterson: [00:00:00] Ok. I promise I’ve calmed down a little bit. Jim Polito, boy did he get me going this morning. We talked about two different things. One, Russia and hacking. And we talked about these new machines that are showing up in restaurants and how they could be used to assassinate someone. Yeah pretty big deal. And then we also, and this is what caught me going, we also talked about the latest type of hacking that’s been going on that might hurt us right, kill us all. Thousands will die. And that is electric grid hacking. And in fact it could. It absolutely could. So we talked about what could happen. Who’s trying to fix the problem? Why do places like Atlanta that have the budget they should be able to protect themselves? Why are they not protected? Why haven’t they done the right thing? And why do we keep hearing about this over and over and what can you do about it? What should we do about it? Oh my. Anyhow, here it is with me and Jim this morning on say we covered this morning, it was most of Massachusetts, parts of Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Vermont. Here we go.


Jim Polito: [00:01:19] Hey listen. Listen. Who is that the famous physicist we buried in the last week? He had nothing on this guy. I’m talking about Craig Peterson, our Tech Talk guru who joins us now live. Good morning sir.


Craig: [00:01:32] Hey good morning. Yeah. It’s the looks though, right?


Jim: [00:01:36] It’s the looks. Yeah, yeah. They make you know because he had the thing and the computer voice that made him sound a lot smarter than you Craig. But you know we know you’re much smarter. And you know God rest his soul. No disrespect to him but you know. Hey I’ve got to ask you about this right. This is right out of more James Bond. First of all we find out that a guy got that a former Russian spy in the U.K. with his daughter gets in his car. The Russians put in allegedly a nerve agent in the climate control. Yep turns it on nerve agent. And we’re like wow, that’s right out of James Bond. You’re telling me that Russia could use robots to poison food for more of these untraceable assassinations. Tell me about this.


Craig: [00:02:33] Yeah it’s a whole interesting story frankly. Think about what’s happening right now with fast food. In California, Washington state where they’ve got this $15 an hour minimum wage thing going on. A lot of the lower end restaurants are starting to use robots to make your burger. So yeah there are still people there but there are, the out front on the kiosks and you order your meal. And in a lot of restaurants ordering process is done by you. And then once you have ordered your food a person makes it. Right. So that’s kind of phase 1. And I’ve seen those over in Europe. I’ve seen them here in the U.S.


Phase two is you use the kiosk to order your food and a machine in fact makes your burger for you.


Jim: [00:03:24] Yeah, I got it.


Craig: [00:03:26] Pretty simple, right?


Jim: [00:03:28] Pretty simple.


Craig: [00:03:25] And the people who were working there they load the meat into the machine then the lettuce tomatoes and stuff. And the machine assembles and cooks everything. Well what if you knew that somebody had a food allergy and you wanted to take them out? What you have had hacked some of these machines so that you could control them. So now somebody walks into one of these restaurants and orders a hamburger and there’s a machine in back make sure. Because again remember now there are cameras in the places that can be hacked. Okay pretty easily sometimes. The order machines could be hacked. The machines that make food could be hacked. And if it isn’t just an allergy so for instance add a couple peanuts to his order today. And so if you have someone who can physically get at the machine. Now remember these machines are generic right. It’s not as though McDonald’s make their own machines although that may end up happening. So they have the ability to have a whole bunch of different types of ingredients. Think of the Coke machines. You know you go to these restaurants now and it’s a machine you push the button and out comes whatever it is you want, all these combinations that technology came from the medical field. That technology was used for administering drugs at least making up the drug concoctions. And it ended up restaurants right. So there is dozens of different, hundreds of combinations with dozens of different ingredients that are in that machine. Just that Coke machine.


So now you have someone who has access to it. Yeah exactly. And loads up into one of those things something they’re allergic to, food or peanuts or whatever it might be. And now in comes the guy that you want to target you see that because you know he frequents the place. So who cares right? Watch the monitor you have somebody watch the restaurant for him walking in. And now you make a slight change to their order and it looks like all that is just kind of a benign mistake. How does that happen? And it could actually be very intentional.


Jim : [00:05:52] Wow. We’re talking with our good friend Craig Peterson, our Tech Talk guru. Yeah this is the stuff of like the Matrix, Terminator movies. All this stuff only we get instead of Arnold we’ve got Vladimír you know on the other end of it. Something that worries everybody as usual is that well you know, can our power grid be attacked? Now we know about you know like exploding the bomb and an electromagnetic pulse, exploding a nuclear bomb in the space over the United States could do that. But no I want to talk about what it would do. We’re talking about a hack right. Somebody being hacked into and saying OK we’re shutting it down like we’ve done to the maybe Iranians and the North Koreans and others.


Craig: [00:06:53] Well it’s happened already here in the U.S. Do you remember 1984? I remember it really well because I was down. I was headed to New York City and I was down in Connecticut and I got a call from my wife saying the power is out throughout New York City and parts of the Northeast you remember that.


Jim: [00:07:11] I do remember that. Yeah, yeah.


Craig: [00:07:14] Yeah. It was a really big deal. Well the investigation showed that in fact it really was like a 98 percent probability that it was a hack. And it happened. Someone hacked the electric grid. So now the FBI now is briefing as well as NERC, which is the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, have been telling operators that there has been a wave of increasing attacks across the country on key power stations. And the power industry has been really struggling to put security improvements and to stop would be hackers and terrorists from crippling our nation’s infrastructure. And think about what would happen here. People who are on ventilators. Obviously they’re in the hospital hospitals hopefully have generators hopefully have enough diesel or other fuel on hand. But how about the people that are on home oxygen machines? How about people who need electricity for various parts of their life to live and then and then companies you know like this could cripple our infrastructure which means we could be without power. Now if the power goes out and it’s a simple hack, it’s just shutting the power down. It could take a few days to get the power back online because you basically have to reboot the grid in a certain order, a certain way. But if the way they hack it and the way that they manipulate it causes blow outs of major transformers, now we’re talking about power outages that could last six months.


Jim: [00:08:50] Wow. That wouldn’t be good.


Craig: [00:08:52] And where I really start getting super duper concerned about all of this is take a look at the City of Atlanta. They were hacked with WannaCry last fall.


Jim: [00:09:07] That was that. That was that virus slash whatever. Yeah. WannaCry. Yeah.


Craig: [00:09:08] Yeah. The Brit phantomware attack.


Jim: [00:09:13] Phantomware right.


Craig : [00:09:16] Yeah. Hundreds of thousands of computers, businesses, the whole national health system in Britain went down. Well, our friends in Atlanta got hacked by this last September and they decided we’re going to fix the problem. We’re going to do it. And here’s the problem. You don’t want an EMT, as great as they are, and you know I was a paramedic for 10 years of all right. You don’t want an EMT walking into the surgery room and doing brain surgery on someone. So why would you allow your people who are working for you, who know more than you do, but are not security specialists, why would you allow them to put in a new system to protect you? So Atlanta is off line for more than a week. Their courts can’t operate because they can’t get at any of their documents. The courts say hey listen, if you have a court date don’t worry about it. We’re not going to issue a bench warrant. You can’t pay your water bill. The cars that are towed can’t get out of impound. You have to go through everything manually. Manual paper. They didn’t even have it all because they did not have experts doing this. They went for brain surgery to an EMT on the side of a road. Are you kidding me? So now the FBI is in the city of Atlanta trying to fix this stuff. They brought in the Cisco Talos team. Those are the guys that back me up OK. Brilliant people doing the right thing. But when we start looking out our electric utilities, it’s crazy. Again, are they bringing in the EMTs in? You know you’ve got the electric companies all trying to do it themselves. No. This is serious. This needs real specialists. I don’t care if it’s a small business. You know it is not that expensive to do it. You should be spending five to 10 percent of your IT budget on the security side of things. Bring in real experts who have been doing that for decades that know what they’re doing. You need that type of protection the FBI is providing companies. And Jim I’m kind of on a high soapbox here.


Jim: [00:11:36] No please do because it’s important to us.


Craig: [00:11:44] Yeah. When you are looking at your network and your computers you have to use real security. You have to have a stack. It has to be like a submarine. You have to have all the different sections in case one gets filled with water. The submarine doesn’t sink right. So you have to have all of these things in place. You have to have an endpoint security. You have to have your switches with security. You have to have your network routers which should be segmented with security. And you have to have your edge firewall also providing security. And it all has to be integrated and tied together because that’s the only way you’re going to be able to stop an attack.


And now with crime as cybercrime as a service, Jim, I just had a guy who called me up two weeks ago and he found out he’s going through his credit card statement and there’s a fifty dollar charge on there. What’s this? All of a sudden his files start disappearing. His important documents start disappearing. And I mean super important for his very small business right. It all starts disappearing. So what’s going on? Well 50 bucks is what the cybercrime as a service company charge. And apparently it was maybe it was an ex-girlfriend that looks like who might have been involved in this thing. Right. And you know she’s trying to just rake him over the coals. And for 50 bucks, she apparently was able to hire cybercrime as a service to come in and destroy his small business. Ok? That’s all it takes. 50 bucks.


Jim: [00:13:24] The man who who’s the point of the spear and protecting us from all of this is Craig Peterson. Now if you want to get more information from him I mean he goes from this really, really important stuff to the simple stuff about your smartphone and everything else. Here’s how you do it. You text my name, Jim, to this number


Craig: [00:13:39] 855-385-5553. That’s 855-385-5553.


Jim: [00:13:39] And Craig Peterson will not try to sell you anything. He’s not going to try to take your information. He’s not going to annoy you with repeated e-mails. But I’ll tell you what, if there is a big problem out there with a hack you’ll hear about it from him and he’ll be on your side. Craig thanks so much for the time. We appreciate it.


Craig: [00:14:11] Thank you Jim. Take care.


Jim: [00:14:12] Take care. Bye bye. See that’s why it’s great to have Craig Peterson around because he’s poking and prodding these people and saying listen you’ve got to fix this. You’ve got to fix that. Craig’s not alone there are others out there doing it but it is great that we have him once a week. OK. Don’t go anywhere.


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