Good Monday morning, everybody. Craig Peterson here. I was on with Scott Spradling on NH Today. We discussed the threatening Email and letters being received by voters and where they came from. We talked about Google search terms. Then we discussed why The National Guard has been called up in Lousiana to deal with Ransomware. We wrapped up today’s discussion with election security in the light of revelations by the FBI and DHS about Nation-State Actors accessing our election systems through known vulnerabilities in the Secretary of State Websites. Here we go with Scott. 

These and more tech tips, news, and updates visit.

– CraigPeterson.com


Automated Machine Generated Transcript:

Craig Peterson: [00:00:00] Same basic thing. It peaked in March. Like you’d expect it, a huge peak being the end of July. Now people just aren’t searching about masks anymore. But this election, this COVID thing, it’s looking online. It’s driving people crazy.

Good morning, everybody. We had a fun time talking about what is going on with the election meddling. There’s some serious stuff happening. I’m not sure how big this scale is, but we’ve got warnings out. Another one here. The national guard actually called out apparently in Louisiana over real election problems.

So here we go. Craig Peterson, of course, with Mr. Scott Spradling.

Scott Spradling: [00:00:43] Interesting developments over the course of the last few days.

I don’t know if folks saw this in the news, but there were letters and emails that were sent to voters threatening that if they didn’t vote a certain way, that there would be some form of retribution.  It looked like most of those emails went to democrats, although I’m not a thousand percent clear on the details. A follow-up investigation by the authorities has determined that these threats were coming from Iran.

Joining us to talk more about this is Craig Peterson is welcoming back to New Hampshire today, Craig, thank you very much for joining us and tell us a little bit about this headline and how they figured out that this was coming from Iran.

Craig Peterson: [00:01:20] It’s interesting stuff isn’t it here, when you get right into it. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out exactly what’s going on. Apparently, there were emails that were being sent to Democrats and they were set up in such a way that it looks like it was this pro-Trump group called the proud boys. It’s been all over the news lately. A lot of questions asked about it. A couple of them in the debate in fact where President Trump’s said: “I don’t really know these guys, but if their bad guys don’t have anything to do with them.”

According to the Director of National Intelligence, John Ratcliffe, apparently what happened is that the Iranians decided they would jump on this whole proud boys stuff that had been in the news and they started sending threatening emails. Talking about how, if you didn’t vote for Trump, basically, we know who you are and we’re going to come after you. In fact, they literally, what it said is you will vote for Trump on election day, or we will come after you. By Tuesday night, they are said to have reached voters in four different States.  The FBI has been involved.

We’ve been having problems in Milford. You’ve probably followed some of that. I know Scott that you’ve talked a little bit about it. It’s crazy. This morning I just heard from one of my daughters that her boyfriend’s family had a thing stuck on their door. A little letter stuck on their door saying that if he votes for Trump they’re coming after him. Wow. This is crazy.

 I went online and Google has this trend feature that allows you to look at the terms that are being used, who is searching for them, and what’s going on. I checked out a couple of terms. You have been talking about Covid fatigue, and it is showing some very high interest, but it’s interesting where it peaked, it really peaked in July and it peaked again last week, which is interesting.

Scott Spradling: [00:03:24] Uh, Huh.

Craig Peterson: [00:03:24] COVID mask. The same basic thing it peaked in March like you’d expect it a huge peak beginning of July, and now people just start searching about masks anymore.

This election, this COVID thing. Looking online it’s driving people crazy.  I tried to verify another story that’s been floating around.  Basically, a rumor based on my exploration here, saying that, the number one search term is, “how do I change my vote?” So I checked a few States, including New Hampshire. Nowhere near true. In fact, so few people are asking on Google, how to change their vote, that doesn’t even show up in most of the graphs. 

Scott Spradling: [00:04:02] I have a lot of faith in the New Hampshire election system, which is nice to hear. Craig Peterson. Let me ask you a different question because we were talking about the Iranians being behind this kind of a threat via email. One thing that’s really, really interesting, in the headlines is that some States are devoting some serious resources to pushing back to local threats like ransomware. And I directed to the state of Louisiana where the national guard is this actually being mobilized, if you will, to go against a tech threat. Talk to me about that.

Craig Peterson: [00:04:33] This is very interesting there’s a study out, Reuters is carrying an article about it right now, from, Friday and Thursday last week. Apparently what’s happened is they found inside some of the Louisiana governmental offices that are specifically involved in elections. In other words, Secretary of State’s offices. They found some Trojan rats, remote access Trojans, it’s called the Kim Jong rat back door.

This particular back door apparently has allowed them to get into the government networks down there right now. Many people may not be aware of it, but our military, including our national guard, has been very well trained. I did some of the training myself, for them on the techniques to help repel these types of ransomware and other types of attacks, direct attacks as well. Also, come in after the fact.  Frankly, between us, we have a very strong offensive cyber capability where we can go after other countries, of course, that happened to Iran already.

So there are some warnings out there. The United States cybersecurity infrastructure security agency issued a warning. I have for years now been talking about. The weakness even here in New Hampshire has to do with the websites, particularly against Secretaries of State. Those websites are used for gathering information from the local polling places, as well as for the federal government to go out to the states and find out what the final tallies are. Those websites are very risky, frankly.

That’s the part of the election that I really don’t like, Scott, because it’s so exposed.

Scott Spradling: [00:06:20] That’s gotta be tightened up. No doubt.

Craig Peterson, let me ask you another question. So that’s for the macro, the big picture perspective, and what governments need to do. What actions are being taken at home, whether it’s, the privacy of your information on your phone, especially when you’re selling and maybe trading yours in. Or the safety of your USB drive. How well protected are we right now at the sort of micro-level? What steps should we be taking?

Craig Peterson: [00:06:45] Our protection level for the average person right now is barely there at all, at best. You’ve got a little bit of a firewall. There’s something called network address translation is protecting you. Almost every computer out there in your home is unlikely, unless it’s a Mac, to be up to date on patches. That’s the bottom line.

The best thing you can do, keep everything patched up. We’ve got thermostats now connected to the internet. We’ve got lights. We’ve got security cameras. When was the last time, Scott you patched your security camera, at your house?

Scott Spradling: [00:07:23] Never.

Craig Peterson: [00:07:23] Yeah, exactly. That’s huge. The second thing you can do is get a prosumer firewall. Don’t use these pieces of junk that are given to you by your Internet Service provider. You really got to upgrade, get into something a little bit more professional and that’ll help a lot.

Scott Spradling: [00:07:40] Craig Peterson. Thank you so much for your advice and observations. We appreciate you helping keep us safe, especially when it comes to our electronic footprint. Hope you have a great day, a great Monday.

Craig Peterson: [00:07:49] Thanks, Scott.  I’ll be back Saturday at 1130.

Scott Spradling: [00:07:52] Great. We’ll talk to you then.

Oh, my gosh, I so much better. That’s all I’m going to say. All right, everybody. We are going to be back tomorrow and Wednesday and of course, I’ll be back this weekend.

I will be posting this now. I had a guy, he had suggested one of our listeners here, who is becoming a friend of mine. it’s been fun chatting back and forth, but, he had suggested that I put up one-hour shows. Now we tried that a couple of times and, we just fell out of the habit, for no particular reason.

There were only a couple of people that reached out when I asked about it before, I’m going to assume you’re indifferent unless I hear otherwise from you and there are thousands of you out there. So we really, you should try and do this a little bit differently.

Let me know if you think I should post this as well. At least my weekend, podcasts, instead of breaking them up into topics. Do you think you guys should do them as one big podcast?  It’s going to be about an hour and a half worth of podcasts or continue to do it based on topics. Please do let me know?

This isn’t some ruse, I want to know from you guys. Just email me, M E at Craig peterson.com. I’d love to hear from you. I’d love to hear how you consume the podcast. I know a few of you have already told me, you’re listening while you’re out driving the trucks. Some are listening in the gym, others are just really just going about their weekends. So let me know. I would really appreciate that.

We’ve been really releasing the podcast on Friday afternoon. and that’s probably the earliest we could possibly release them. But does that work for you guys to do that? It might be better for the show may be to release on Monday. Or more people listening over the weekend than during the week?  When do you guys listen to it? I can certainly look at the stats and I have, but I’ve never really tried to release it later. So let me know, just email me. M E at Craig peterson.com.

I want to make the most of my time and of yours have a great day.

We’ll be back tomorrow. Bye-bye.

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