A Whole Class of “Free” Apps Found Exposing You — and Our Nuclear Secrets
As heard on 2021-06-09 on WGAN
Using some of these free apps can be a very bad way to try and keep your information private. So much of it ends up out on the internet where anyone can get their hands on it. And that’s what we just found now about the military. Again. Now we’ve got nuclear secrets out. There. And apparently some of them have been out there now for almost a decade, just because some people were trying to use a free app to memorize things.
[00:00:29]I got into that this morning with Mr. Matt,
[00:00:31] Matt Gagnon: [00:00:31] 7:36 on WGAN morning news on Wednesday morning. Thanks for listening friends. It’s time to talk to Craig Peterson who joins us at this time every week. And. You can always hear him on Saturdays at one o’clock for his own show on this ferry station, where he talks about these topics in more depth of detail.
[00:00:48] Craig, how are you this morning?
[00:00:49]Craig Peterson: [00:00:49] I am doing great. Matt,
[00:00:51] Matt Gagnon: [00:00:51] Craig, explain something to me please. On Monday, I was sitting here doing my job, trying to read the news. Going around the internet. And I came across a couple of things I wanted to read, clicked on them. CNN article MSNBC, article a few others. And I got this error message.
[00:01:10] I’m sorry, the internet doesn’t work anymore. And I got it for about 10 different places. I was trying to go for a couple hours actually. So it was a pretty big outage. What happened? Why did it happen and how do we not have this happen again?
[00:01:23]Craig Peterson: [00:01:23] Frankly, I’m a little surprised it doesn’t happen more often.
[00:01:26] Yeah. If you lived in the UK, the entire UK government websites went down, all of them, uk.gov or kind, I should say at one downer as well as gov is absolutely amazing. Actually, I got those backwards. It was anyways. What happened was one of the major providers of web hosting had a major problem, and this was not a hack.
[00:01:54] It wasn’t ransomware, et cetera, by the looks of it at this point. But what happens when you go to a website is you’re connecting to a server somewhere. Now, normally let’s say you’ve got your local soccer club and they have a website that is hosted. Maybe it’s on Amazon. Maybe it’s just hosted locally.
[00:02:14] Somebody right here in Maine and they’ve got it in their little data center. So if someone in the UK or South Africa or California wants to go to the soccer club website, they’re going to Maine in order to get at it because that’s where the servers hosted. So the problem is that means you now have all kinds of delays because the data has to travel through much of the internet.
[00:02:40]What we’ve come up with is something called content delivery networks, and there’s a number of them out there. Some are bigger, some are smaller. And what w what companies do is they put major portions of the website. So for instance, if you go to Craig peterson.com, that site, we hosted here locally, and.
[00:02:59] All of the graphics and all of the videos that are on that website are actually delivered to you over a content delivery network. So your in Portland, for instance, you will get those pictures from my website, those videos from my website, all of that large content from a, hopefully a data center really close to where you’re at and someone in California is going to get it from a data center, close to where they’re at.
[00:03:26] It really speeds things up. So the problem was all of these sites that weren’t up and online were having problems because the content delivery network they were using, which consists of 80 servers centers all over the world, it had a bug probably from distributing a new release of software and it stopped working.
[00:03:50] So it was down for a little more than an hour. This was just a normal situation. I’m not going to use that acronym. And it’s something that happens and happened before. It’ll probably happen again. So this was not one of those attacks from Russia or China or anybody else.
[00:04:08]Matt Gagnon: [00:04:08] Speaking of attacks from Russia, that’s maybe a nice little segue into the second question I had for you, Craig, because obviously we’re seeing cyber attacks happen more frequently.
[00:04:17] And right now us intelligence is probing. Whether or not the Russians Vladimir Putin, et cetera, are testing the Biden administration. Of course, not even a year old yet. With a lot of these cyber attacks to see what’s going to happen to see how they’re going to react to it. And you’re going to have a meeting coming up between Biden and Putin here.
[00:04:33]This is all part of a larger geopolitical context. Don’t need you to comment on that, but I would love to get your thoughts on what exactly. Nation to nation, cyber warfare looks like these days and exactly what’s going on here? What are they up to?
[00:04:46]Craig Peterson: [00:04:46] It really looks in fact, we are in a war, right?
[00:04:49] We’ve said that before the first shots of world war three have already been fired and it’s online and we had energy secretary, Jennifer Granholm on Sunday. Warning us all that the us power grid is vulnerable to attack. So CNN is Jake Tapper and say to the union said, are we safe? Can our adversaries shut it down?
[00:05:13] And grand said, yes, they, they can. And in fact, They do. The first one I remember was back in 2004, I was down in Connecticut. Hadn’t done in New York city and the power grid went offline. And apparently that was a task based on all of the research that was done after the fact they were seeing, can we get into the power grid?
[00:05:35] They actually didn’t mean to shut it down, but they didn’t really know what they were doing. And they brought it down so fast forward to today from 2000. Four. And we are seeing a whole lot of hacking going on against all kinds of infrastructure. We’ve got the meat packing plants, right? We’ve had the power, we’ve had water purification plants.
[00:05:57] We’ve had of course colonial pipeline. And in fact it’s difficult to defend against now whether or not. Putin is testing us is a very good question. I suspect he is, we talked to him on my show and talked last week about using Russian keyboards to stop the ransomware attacks because.
[00:06:18] The ransomware, first thing it does is check to see, is there a Russian or Russia affiliated keyboard? If there is a short circuits, in other words, they don’t want to attack Russian systems. They are definitely attacking our systems. And the attacks that I just mentioned were very directed attacks. These weren’t the normal ones.
[00:06:39] These weren’t the ones where they’re casting a wide net. Pulling anything up they can, and then taking advantage of it. These were direct attacks against various parts of our infrastructure. They were coordinated. They were thought through very carefully. So I think the answer to that is, yeah they are testing us.
[00:07:00]The question is why.
[00:07:01]Matt Gagnon: [00:07:01] Good question. Finally, Greg, before I let you go, I want to ask you about the flashcard thing here. The U S soldiers were exposing nuclear weapons, secrets via flashcard apps. I saw this story a little while ago. And I meant to click on it to learn more, but I didn’t.
[00:07:19] So you’re going to educate me here a little bit on this and tell me a little bit about what happened. What is the deal here
[00:07:23] Craig Peterson: [00:07:23] about this? We have military personnel who have to memorize things and particularly those personnel who are around the nuclear. And so they’ve got to memorize it.
[00:07:34] And how do you memorize? You use flashcards, works really well. That’s what I used in college as well. So this is all about rote learning. And the problem that we’re seeing here is something we’ve seen before with the military. They’re using standard apps for flashcards and those apps they’ve loaded in all of these questions about the locations of our nuclear weapons the disbursement patterns of them, everything you can think of about our weapon.
[00:08:05] This sounds like a great idea, by the way. That’s a great idea. So there’s something called open source intelligence, and I’ve worked with them quite extensively in doing my. BI InfraGuard webinars that have been running, but these researchers go and see what they can find online. They found stashes of these cards with our nuclear secrets in them.
[00:08:29] So it is a problem. It’s a very big problem in the remind you of what happened with these these tracker watches that many people wear. That we’re exposing where our secret bases were because these guys were jogging around the base, keeping track of all of that, to where they ran, how fast they ran, competing with their buddies, maybe on different bases or the same basis.
[00:08:53] And all of that was being posted online. So even though there’s no official base there, for some reason, there’s a lot of people who are running a pattern that really looks a lot like a landing strip.
[00:09:05]Matt Gagnon: [00:09:05] That’s Craig Peterson, my friends. Thanks so much for joining us, Craig, as always, we appreciate you joining us and of course, make sure you listen to him on Saturdays as well.
[00:09:12] Craig, talk to you next week.
[00:09:14] Craig Peterson: [00:09:14] Absolutely. Take care.