Good morning, everybody. I was on WTAG this morning with Jim Polito. We got into a couple of interesting topics. First was the hack of the FL water plant and how that happened and why. Then we got into NASA and how it plans on propelling the spacecraft to Mars. Here we go with Jim.
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Craig Peterson: [00:00:00] The Russians have been using them for years in space. We’ve been concerned about it because of what happens when that Russian bird comes down. There’s issues right with all of that. These nuclear propulsion plants really tend to make a whole lot of sense.
Hi, everybody. Craig Peterson here. I was on this morning with Mr. Jim Pollito. We talked about the NASA space program and I love this thing. You probably know listening for a while that I actually helped just a teeny tiny bit with NASAs program called the space shuttle. That was really cool. I did some engineering way back when. Also, we talked about this breached water plant, what happened there? Who did it? Why and how can we avoid this sort of thing happening in our lives? So here we go with Jim.
Jim Polito: [00:00:52] Hey, what’s team viewer. Apparently, I guess it’s something like Zoom. Guess what? Hackers busted in through it. Almost polluted water in Florida. This is the stuff we were worried about. Joining us now to discuss all of this, our good friend and a very popular guest tech talk guru. Craig Peterson. Good morning, sir.
Craig Peterson: [00:01:20] Hey, good morning. Yeah, this is a bad thing, Jim. You’re right about that.
Jim Polito: [00:01:25] Apparently in Florida hackers broke into the computer system and just a smaller system. A smaller water system in Florida provides water to about 15,000 people, but they were able to, I think, turn up the chlorine in it so that the water coming out of your tap would basically be Clorox. Contaminating the water with the very agent we use to purify it. It seems that as usual, they’re not listening to Craig Peterson down there, the people running this water system.
Craig Peterson: [00:02:00] Absolutely. You know that I set up the FBI InfraGard webinar program and I ran it. I conducted the webinars for a couple of years and the whole idea behind InfraGuard is that it’s infrastructure protection, right? It’s everything from heaven forbid lawyers get hacked, all the way to these types of systems.
In this particular case, we’re talking about a technology called SCADA. These are devices that are everywhere. These are devices that control valves, they’ll open and close valves.
On the electric grid, for instance, right now in Texas, right? They were foolish enough to go to wind power and so all of a sudden now all of the windmills are frozen solid.
I saw, by the way, a video of this drone that applies D-ICER to these windmills. Anyhow, they’re frozen just like an airplane. If it’s flying through the sky and it gets ice up and they don’t have anything to stop that ice. Of course, in commercial planes the wings will no longer have lift. The same sort of problems happening with those windmills down there, Florida.
What happened, now is they have to shut down parts of the grid. Throughout Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, they are now shutting down parts of the grid doing rolling blackouts. That’s all controlled by these SCADA systems.
Now you mentioned something called team viewer.
Jim Polito: [00:03:29] Yeah.
Craig Peterson: [00:03:30] Team viewer is something that people have been using as part of this lockdown thing. We’re not going in to work. So how do I get to the computers at work? Well pulling all of this together, this water plant, as well as every other water plant in the country uses these computer-controlled mixing valves and on-off valves. They are controlled by computers there in the plant.
In this case, the computer they figured man, we still got to have people monitor this right. We don’t want our water to go offline. We don’t want the quality to go down. So some guys sitting there at home and are connected to the computer in the plant using team viewer.
Now there’s a few problems here, obviously. Team viewer isn’t necessarily the best thing in the world. There are much more secure ways of even setting up Team Viewer than what they did.
They were running windows seven cause that’s the controller for all of these mixing valves there in the plant. Windows seven, of course, was an unsupported operating system. No firewall.
They shared the same team viewer password amongst everybody there in the plant.
They released something called sodium hydroxide. That’s lye. That’s the stuff that’ll burn your hands off. Whoever got on to it, increased the amount of lye in the water by a factor of 100. It could have caused sickness or death. At least the guy who’s working from home, who’s using team viewer saw, wait a minute, somebody just changed the lye setting to death. I’m going to turn it back down again.
Jim Polito: [00:05:17] Okay. We’re talking with our tech talk guru, Craig Peterson, just about the things that we do worry about which is, World War Three will not be fought with conventional weapons. It’ll be fought over the internet. We see this in a hack into a water plant in Florida. Craig, do we have any idea where this hack came from? Is it as they say the usual suspects?
Almost certainly Russians. No, we don’t know yet, but I thought I’d throw that in there.
In fact, there’s an advisory out right now from the state of Massachusetts about this. They’re talking about what the problem was. We know how they got in. We aren’t sure who it was yet.
The old-style hack. This is not using what we call a zero-day vulnerability or anything else. The people who set it up were, I would say stupid, but I’m not going to say that. I would have said stupid if I had said something. They should know better if they had attended any of the briefings that I conducted for the FBI InfraGard program, they would have known that. We don’t know it could be anyone, anywhere. It could be another employee at the water plant that just wanted to prove his point that the system’s insecure.
Yeah, not good. Not good. This is not good. Just fix it, so we won’t worry anymore.
Craig, to go to Mars help me out with this, cause you are a smart person. We need nuclear power. Wait a minute. Wait a minute. So you’re saying that it’s going to be like the starship enterprise. You’re going to have, dilithium crystals in there. Scotty’s got, “I can’t give it no more, Captain”. Are we really talking about a nuclear-powered spaceship to go to Mars?
Craig Peterson: [00:07:09] Obviously we’ve got Elon Musk. He’s the guy out front and he has the standard chemical rockets. If you’ve ever watched the movie Snowpiercer or the TV show, Snowpiercer, which causes global catastrophe. Okay.
Jim Polito: [00:07:24] Yes, I saw the movie. I don’t watch the series. The movie was just not all that great. I love SciFi, but I don’t watch the series, even though one of my favorites, Jennifer Conley is in it. No, I don’t watch it.
Craig Peterson: [00:07:37] Of course, completely fiction the way they’ve done it.
Elon Musk is looking at using chemical rockets. NASA is looking at, in fact they’re planning on using chemical rockets. In both cases, NASA is can use them to go to the moon. It gets very expensive.
Our first moonshot, you and I both remember it in the sixties, I can remember watching it live on TV. It was just mind-blowing. The very first time I had ever seen a color newspaper was the day after. They had a color picture of our men there on the moon. It was just such a great time.
We were planning on something different. We were planning on having boosters to get the main rocket supplies up into orbit around the earth. Then filling those up with fuel, having fuel there, and then using the rocket that we assemble in orbit around the earth to then go to the moon.
There are plans to potentially do that for Mars missions and other deep space-type missions. The biggest problem we have is getting out of earth’s gravity. When you get right down to it, NASA is expecting its big space launch system to cost around $2 billion for a flight to go on up, to get the fuel up, and other things. It’s just very expensive.
Some technology that we looked at in the sixties was nuclear technology where we have a small nuclear power plant. We know how to make these things. The Russians have been using them for years in space. We’ve been concerned about it because of what happens when that Russian bird comes down. There’s issues right with all of that.
These nuclear propulsion plants really tend to make a whole lot of sense. We’ll cut way back on the cost because the amount of nuclear material we have to haul in space is a tiny fraction of the chemical propellant we’d have to haul in space. NASA is looking at it again. Congress has been funding, nuclear, propulsion experiments, and stuff now for many years.
We’ll see where it all goes. It’s a different way to do it. We’ve got a lot of proposals on the table still. I think the first missions to Mars are going to be chemical rockets because Musk is doing a pretty darn good job with that. Our missions to the moon in the near future will be chemical.
We’re going to end up with a space station in earth orbit that is going to essentially be a fueling station for our continued missions to Mars, even to the moon. Mars’s moons and maybe some deeper space.
Jim Polito: [00:10:23] That’s amazing. We’ve got to make sure that the death star. We don’t have an exhaust portal on the vessel two meters wide that you could get, some type of a weapon into, and then the whole thing is gone.
We just gotta make sure we
Craig Peterson: [00:10:39] we found out about that though. Do you remember? What we found out is the guy that designed it, built that flaw into it, on purpose
Jim Polito: [00:10:46] He did that was great.
Craig Peterson: [00:10:48] Rebels could. Yeah. Was that a little backstory explanation?
Jim Polito: [00:10:53] I love that. That was Rogue One. I love that. Love it. Our good friend who knows everything.
Craig Peterson, tech talk guru. Craig, how do folks get in touch with you?
Craig Peterson: [00:11:03] I am starting up here this next week, in fact, this week, this morning, you’ll get an email from you, a little bit of training a whole bunch of training programs just to help you guys understand this, but you’ve got to be on my email list and that means go to Craig peterson.com slash subscribe. You can subscribe right there. You can listen to my podcasts.
Of course, they’re my articles. You can even get the weekly email, similar to what I sent to Jim, my show notes every week, as well on Sunday mornings, I’ve actually pulled it together. Jim, just Craig peterson.com.
Jim Polito: [00:11:37] Nice, nice. That’s right. Get everybody informed, Craig. Thank you very much. We’ll talk with you next week.
Craig Peterson: [00:11:44] Take care. Bye-bye.
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