Share Your Opinion – NSA Deletes “Honesty” and “Openness” From Core Values – Apple iOS 11.2.6 Release Has A Nasty Surprise: TTWCP-947 Share Your Opinion – NSA Deletes “Honesty” and “Openness” From Core Values – Apple iOS 11.2.6 Release Has A Nasty Surprise
On This Episode…
On today’s show, Craig talks about a number of things starting with Apple’s nasty surprise with iOS 11.2.6 update. Also, NSA admits not to be the best agency, as they have deleted “openess” and “honesty” from their core values statement.
- Apple iOS 11.2.6 Release Has A Nasty Surprise
- NSA Deletes “Honesty” and “Openness” From Core Values
- State election officials across country returning to paper ballots
- Conservative Twitter Users Lose Thousands of Followers, Mass Purge of Bots Suspected [Updated]
- Google Pay – Say hello to a better way to pay, by Google
- Edge browser suffers security flaw which Microsoft failed to fix on time
- Litchfield Native helps train the Navy’s best pilots at TOPGUN
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Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors.
Airing date: 02/24/2018
NSA Deletes “Honesty” and “Openness” From Core Values – Apple iOS 11.2.6 Release Has A Nasty Surprise
Craig Peterson: [00:00:00] Hey welcome. We’re going to talk about Apple. They have a nasty surprise if you’ve upgraded to iOS 11.2.6. We’re going to be talking about the NSA. Guess what. They’re now admitting that they are not the best agency in the world. They’ve deleted some things from their core values statement. Election officials across the country are returning to paper ballots. And this one is kind of a big deal here. You might have seen the tag that’s being used online. If you’re a Twitter user you might have noticed this and if you’re a conservative, particularly if you are a conservative that has a lot of followers, you really notice this. They are being penalized right now by Twitter. That and a whole lot more stick around here we go.
Craig: [00:01:36] Busy day today has been a nice week this week. I don’t know if anyone else here in the Northeast got a chance to go outside and enjoy the weather but it was 75 degrees in February. Now that is crazy. Maybe I brought that weather back with me from Florida down, down there where it was 87 degrees. So it was really nice. But of course we’re getting back to more of a winter weather pattern here in the northeast. You might have noticed if you’ve been out driving that there’s a winter weather warning signs up on the highway. So we’re going to have a fun day I think tomorrow as time goes forward. You know we talk a lot about security here on the show because of course my background has been in networks and computers now for, oh wow, a long time of more than 40, when did I first start working on networking stuff? More than 40 years ago now. So very long time. A lot more than 40 when I think about it.
So there’s a lot of background there and I’ve been very, very concerned. More recently seeing all of these nasty security vulnerabilities and there are things that can be taken care of. But of course it gets confusing for people. They don’t know what to do. They don’t know how to do it, right? So we’ve been trying to help out. But that’s why we talk about it here too is to kind of get a little bit more knowledge about what’s going on into your hands. And one of the things that has come up this week. I saw great infographics on this and infographics I don’t think are quite as popular as they once were. But this was a really good infographic and it was talking about the reasons Web site security is important in 2018. And it’s really important if you are a small business and here’s why. You know we’ve talked about cryptocurrency here on the show before many times about bitcoin, about its value, its ups, its downs. We’ve talked about it with financial experts as well here on the show. And it’s a big deal right? People are trying to make money off of it and a lot of people have lost money and some people become billionaires. In fact I saw a really interesting article looking at the founders of Facebook, not Zuckerberg but the twins, right? And they had invested a lot into bitcoin and they were billionaires. Now they’re just millionaires, right? Multimillionaires. Because the value has gone down so much. But the way you get a bitcoin is through a process called mining. It’s almost like mining gold. So you go out there you try and find this using a complex mathematical formula. A particular number. And you know you get into prime numbers have you ever looked at primes you understand a little bit about how this all works.
And so they mine a coin that way. And it takes more electricity now especially in the rates here in the northeast. It takes more electricity and the cost of electricity is higher than the value of the Bitcoin. So what’s a bad guy going to do? Here you are. You’re stuck. You can’t afford the processing power. There are huge farms that are set up over in Russia and in China that are using dedicated specialized hardware trying to find more bitcoins. And if you’re just a regular old run of the mill criminal you’re going to do what we talked about on the show a couple of weeks ago. You’re going to embed code into, for instance, ads that are coming from Facebook. And those ads from Facebook are going to contain hidden code that is malicious right. I guess the question is how would you define malicious? What it does is it starts using your web browser to mine bitcoin for them. Do you remember the SETI project? This was really popular a few years back. That’s the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. And you could get a screen saver from them. You still can. And that screen saver when it was running would be using your computer’s resources to try and find radiowave signals coming from other galaxies that might indicate extraterrestrial life. It was kind of cool. I did that for a while. I had a couple of computers that were running that screensaver.
Well now what’s happening is the bad guys are faking it. They’re embedding into the ad networks and we talked about a couple of weeks ago some of these ad networks, they’re embedding bitcoin mining software. So now your computer’s electricity is being used to make them more wealthy which is I think a big deal right? That’s theft. Out and out theft. And Google shut down some of these on their ad networks.
But here’s why it’s important about your Web site security. I don’t care if you have the local soccer team right. My daughter has played soccer. They loved it. And we had a team. You know, the MYA. The local Merrimack Youth Organization for playing soccer. It was great. The bad guys want to gain access to your Web site so that they can embed malicious code. And they’re using it to do crypto mining. Bitcoin mining. They’re using it to put viruses on people’s machines. They’re using it to attack their machines. They’ve been using people’s web servers, private organizations Web servers. Any web servers. They’ve been using to distribute jihadi videos to try and get more people to sign up for their jihadi activities. So it’s really, really important and we’ll probably be talking more about this as time goes on.
But Web security something that people haven’t really been thinking about. Something that’s important. It’s kind of hard to do for most organizations. I do free work for a couple of organizations and very inexpensive paid work for some other ones and they’re constantly under attack. It’s surprising. And of course I’ve hosted more than 5000 Web sites with my business over the years. Not something I’m doing right now by the way. I’m not pitching here but I’ve seen what happened. So keep an eye on top of those things.
NSA here before we go to break. OK, these are the guys, remember it was no such agency. They denied the existence of the National Security Agency. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Ignore the man behind the curtain right. And then eventually they admitted they existed. And then we found out through Edward Snowden that the NSA was monitoring American civilians. You and I. Monitoring us. Do you think that’s a bad thing? And they were taking that information and now there’s allegations that the Obama administration used some of that information and may have used it illegally and things. It’s a big deal.
So what does the NSA do? They have a Web site obviously. They try and keep it safe although it’s been hacked before as well the FBI’s. Probably because they weren’t paying attention and weren’t doing updates which is what got us Equifax is hacked as well. But earlier this month they changed the page on their Web site that contains their mission statement. Their top priority, number one priority. Well this is for Iczel. She does a one like this. Number one priority is honesty. Well, excuse me, used to be honesty. They removed it as their top priority. OK. They had four core values, respect, honesty, respect for the law, integrity, and transparency. And they removed honesty. They removed openness from their core values. I don’t get the openness part because they’ve never been open. Right. And they removed the whole mission statement page frankly. So you can still see it over the Internet Archive. But this new version here is a lot different. They’re not going to be truthful anymore and their new top pursuit is commitment to service which it says means excellence in pursuit of our critical mission. And frankly they do have a critical mission.
We’ll be talking a little bit later today too about gentleman here from Litchfield who is serving in the Navy and what he’s doing there really kind of a cool tie into Litchfield and what he’s doing over there we’re kind of like. And we’ll also be talking about iOS when we get back. 11.2.6 has what’s being called a nasty surprise in it from a lot of people. You know we were expecting some fixes for the whole battery conspiracy. Right. What would you call that Waterbattery or Batterygate I guess? Batterygate. But it doesn’t have that and it has some other stuff. So stick around. We’ll be right back. Of course you’re listening to Craig Peterson. If you want to get my weekly show notes make sure you subscribe. Go to http://CraigPeterson.com/subscribe. I send them out every Saturday morning with notes on what we’ll be talking about during the show and also usually a couple of extra little articles in there that we just never have time to get to. Stick around. We’ll be right back.
Craig: [00:11:31] Hi welcome back. We’ve got a few things here that are a little surprising. Right now everything is subject to interpretation. Does that make sense to you? Right. You might think something is critical. You might think it’s a big deal. Somebody else thinks that’s not a big deal. I see that all the time in politics right. Yeah my guy can do no wrong. Your guy is completely wrong. All right. You’ve seen that before. But when we’re talking about security or we’re talking about devices, what’s right and what’s wrong? You know it’s a big deal frankly.
Well Microsoft had a big surprise of course, when they released. I’m playing a little bit with the light here for the, we’re doing a Facebook Live. We’re recording this live so kind of playing around with it a little bit in the background. So they released a buggy product right which a lot of companies do. But you know is that Microsoft’s fault? Right. Every business has to prioritize. Figure out what they want, how they want it. There we go. That’s a little better. How they should release? What they should release? When they should release it? And you know I’ve been critical of Apple more recently as well about some of the problems they’ve had because Apple has really dropped the ball on keeping their new releases stable. Let’s just put it that way. They’ve been releasing software for the Macs and for the iPhones that contain way more bugs than they should contain. And that’s driving me crazy. And those of us that have Apple’s ear we’ve been telling them about this and I’ve been on the phone with Cupertino up there telling them about this being a critical problem frankly. They can’t do this sort of thing. People are going to move on from it.
Well Apple’s iOS release, the most recent one, the 11.2.6, we expected to have some nice things in it. We expected them to fix this main security problems right. We always expect that. We expect them to fix maybe a couple of broken things maybe add a new feature or two. Well one of the things we were expecting was a fix for the Apple battery issue. Now for those that aren’t aware that the bottom line is Apple cheated. How can you get more bottom line than that? If you have an older iPhone and that battery is getting older and it’s not holding the charges well, Apple decided that they would just slow down your phone so that all of a sudden your battery charge didn’t go from 20 percent to nothing to your phone turning off. Or 30 percent or now, I’ve heard in fact one of my kids was telling me that their iPhone it was at 80 percent and then it shut off. OK now that’s a bad battery. Apple’s actually replacing that battery for free. So obviously no complaints there from me. Right.
But for those of you who are trying to get your batteries replaced Apple really doesn’t have the inventory. And that’s a big problem again. So if you’re trying to get the battery replaced in your iPhone I would suggest that maybe you contact some of these other companies like Best Buy. They are charging also the same amount, 35 bucks, and they have the inventory. And what probably happened here is this is probably a cobbler’s kid’s problem where Apple has released the battery fix right. And they’re saying it’s available and you can buy it and it’s 35 bucks and it’s going to make it now so that your iPhone is going to be like brand new. It’s going to be fast. And it’s going to hold a charge which is great. Right. And some people were saying that Apple did this because they wanted to sell more iPhones. And I’m not sure they’re wrong frankly between us right. But if you want a new battery. Go check them out over Best Buy. Maybe what happened is Best Buy and others bought out all of Apple’s inventory. So I know people who have set up appointments to have their iPhone battery changed but it has not been done because Apple calls up. Or in some cases I know people who have showed up for their appointment to have their battery replaced and Apple turns them away saying I’m sorry we’re out of inventory. So don’t go to the Genius Bar. You can go to a lot of other places that can do it under warranty and get the battery placed. And if you have Apple Care or a warranty make sure you check first that they are an authorized service center so that Apple will honor the service.
Well, we were expecting the next release of Apple’s iOS to contain a fix for the battery thing where you could decide if you were going to have your battery life compensated for by either slowing the CPU down or just recharging it more. Right? That should be your decision. It does not have that in there. OK. But a nasty surprise here is that many people are finding, and this is probably a bug on Apple’s part, but many people are finding that the battery life indicator that’s on the upper right hand side of your display, that battery life indicator is gone on some phones. I upgraded mine. I have an iPhone 8. So that’s as of today. The most recent one. Well I guess you could say an iPhone X is the most recent. My wife has an iPhone 6 and you have the battery indicator still shown on your phone. Is it still there? But I have an article up on my Web site at http://CraigPeterson.com that’s showing a couple of screen shots of phones that are no longer showing the battery life thing. So that was a little bit of surprise. And unfortunately I think it’s showing that Apple still hasn’t learned. They are still not testing thoroughly enough. They are rushing stuff out the door. Apple, I mentioned this a couple of weeks ago, Apple said we’re not going to do that anymore. We’re going to add two-year release cycle on some of their major releases. They’ve been doing a one year release cycle. So by going to a two year release cycle they should be able to get rid of some of the bugs a little better than they have been. But you know we’ll see. Right. It’s Yeah. Somebody was just texting me. You can text me live here in studio at 855-385-5553. In fact you can text me anytime at that number, 855-385-5553.
But I just got a text saying it sounds like Apple’s workaround for the battery problem sounds a lot like what VW did with their diesel engines right, where they kind of cheated on the emissions testing. So it’s interesting. Yeah. Well you know we can argue about the EPA and they changed the test and you know all the other things that go along with it. Changed their test after they had already said what the parameters were. But it does sound kind of fishy doesn’t it. And we know that VW got some serious fines worldwide. And I kind of suspect Apple’s going to get nailed too. We know, I personally know about six suits that are still seeking class action status that are going after Apple for the battery thing because now the phone, the older iPhone, is worth less than it was because who wants a slower phone? You can buy a new one which is probably also going to be a suit. Hey Apple was just trying to force us to buy a new one right. All right. OK. So when we get back we are going to be talking a little bit about our Twitter friends and what’s going on over there when it comes to conservatives and what conservatives are saying online. We’ll also be talking about a 2002 Eldren high school graduate who was from Litchfield, New Hampshire who has a very cool posting in the U.S. Navy. So we’ll get to him too when we get back. Again visit online. If you haven’t subscribed go to http://CraigPeterson.com/subscribe. We’ll be right back.
Craig: [00:20:17] Can’t get enough? Go to my Web site http://CraigRadio.com.
Craig: [00:20:28] Hey welcome back. You can of course listen live. You know if you’re on the road, if you’re out driving around a lot of people use the iHeart app for their phones. I’ve been using it for years. I was driving around in southern France because I have a global data plan right. And I was down in southern France in Provence down there and was listening to my favorite iHeart Radio shows right back from my home station here at WGIR. It was phenomenal. It’s great. You can listen to them when you’re out in the summer boating. You can listen to them when you’re in the wintertime doing all of your winter sports, skiing. Just download it. It’s a free app, iHeart. Look for it in your Google Play Store or also on your Apple App Store or really anywhere or if you’re at home just go to http://iHeart.com. You’ll find it right there. Do a search for WGIR and you can listen to us there. If you’re out in the Seacoast well, WGIR works for you as well.
This has been a big controversy this week and I want to talk about it now. There’s a couple of articles that I talked about with our Facebook Live viewers and also I posted on the Web site and if you have subscribe to my mailing list you’ll see it in your e-mail. Check your e-mail from this morning. I always, in the subject line, I always put TTWCP. So if you have a web filter you can play with it there and it’s always, I think I’m sending them from me@CraigPeterson.com. But if you go to http://CraigPeterson.com/subscribe you’ll get links to all of these articles with a little article summary. But I talked a little bit about the Edge browser, Microsoft’s browser and by the way security problem that there is no Microsoft fix out for. OK. So we talked about that you’ll find that online. And we went in a little more detail and talked a little bit more about why Web site security is so important and is going to be important this year. So you can find the video by the way. I’ll have it up on my Web site. But it’s definitely on my Facebook page. It will be on. It’s streaming live right now and you can watch it afterwards. So if you missed part of today’s show that’s probably the best place to find it.
I wish we could get iHeart to put my show up on iHeart directly. There are a lot of podcasts up there but not mine. So you’ll have to go to my Facebook page. And if you don’t use Facebook, keep an eye out because I’ll put it up on http://CraigPeterson.com early this week as the week goes on.
Now we talked about our friends in Russia and what they were doing. And you’ve heard about this in the news. They were buying ads on Facebook and Google and elsewhere. Which means with Google they’re placed all over the Internet. And they were supporting Hillary. They were supporting Trump. They were anti-Hillary. They were anti-Trump. They were promoting rallies. And we saw people very far left wing people who were at rallies. For instance, Michael Moore spoke at one of these Russian sponsored rallies. And he’s a big time lefty, right? We saw lefties right and left who were re-tweeting the anti-Trump stuff that was coming from the Russian trolls. OK so the left was out there re-tweeting this stuff saying oh look, I got this, right? The whole Trump derangement syndrome. And so the left was doing it. Obviously the right was doing it as well. But you know the left never seems to hold themselves particularly accountable. But the right was doing it as well.
So how do you solve this problem? And it’s a big problem frankly. It is illegal for a foreigner to participate in, basically, our elections. Certainly to interfere in our elections. So how far does that go? Where does that line get drawn? What should we do? How should we do it? Well Facebook for instance said well we’re going to send a postcard to everyone that wants to buy advertising and we’ll will put a special code on there. I think it was Facebook. Well put a special code on there and you’ll have to go to the Web site, enter in that special code. And once that code is entered in then we’ll let you buy advertising. And OK I guess that kind of makes sense. Pulling snail mail into the whole mix. You know because now you’ve got people for mail fraud if they’re trying to defraud you. So OK I can see that. From a legal aspect I think that makes some sense. But ultimately I don’t think that’s going to solve the problem. And Twitter thinks the same thing. Facebook and Google, they all kind of think the same thing. You know how much money was spent? It was just literally drop in the bucket compared to how much were spent by the political parties, by the unions, by the supporters, by everybody else. Right? Just a drop in the bucket. But still you don’t want to see it happen.
So what Twitter has done is they have decided that they are going to get rid of these Russian bots. Now if you don’t know what a bot is, Russian, these bots that Russians were using are, they create fake identities. They have farms of people, farms of servers, that are pretending to be something or someone that they’re not. And usually one person will have dozens of different identities different names all kinds of different stuff and then they’ll connect in through one or more VPN services so that the traffic looks like it’s coming from the United States. And that makes it much harder for people to be able to track them down. If all we have to do is look for Russian IP addresses easy problem to solve. But it’s much more difficult than that.
So Twitter says that what they’ve been doing is going through all of the posts and all of the accounts. And they’re looking for what they consider to be bots. So how do you define a bot? Well you might do it by it posts exactly the same time every day. Well you know for a while President Trump was supposed to at the same time every day at 4:30 in the morning when he did his morning constitutional. I’m sorry I didn’t mean to bring that picture to your mind. But he posted the same time approximately every day. So that doesn’t work.
Well, maybe what you do is you look for the word usage and if there’s certain word patterns then you know that these accounts are linked and therefore they’re both bots. Well you can’t count on that either. My writing style is going to be the same as thousands of other people out there. I’m not going to be exactly the same as everybody but it’s going to be very similar.
So how do we find the Russian bots? Hmm. Well maybe the Russian bots are the ones that are reposting conservative views and are talking about conservative views. Well but wait a minute the Russian bots were pro-Hillary as well as anti-Trump. And they were anti-Hillary as well as Pro-Trump although they tended to be more pro-Hillary and anti-Trump. How do we solve the problem? Wow. My gosh. Matt Novak wrote a great little article here that you might like but this particular one is in Gizmodo and he’s talking about what has happened in reality. What has Twitter actually done? Well, conservative Twitter users over the last couple of weeks have lost thousands of followers. Thousands of them. How many of those followers were bots? Well you’ve heard me talk before about estimates of bots in Twitter where there’s estimates that 60 and even as many as 70 percent of all Twitter user accounts are fake. That they’re actually software programs that are out there pretending they’re a person in order to drive up interest in a certain tag or a certain subject right. So they slowly move it up and they re-tweet each other and you can go out there and you can buy it. And I know people have done it. For a couple of hundred bucks you can get yourself a thousand Twitter followers. Now I’ve never done that. I’ve got 1,800 people following me on Twitter. And you can see my Twitter account because we tweet live here. We’re posting live on Facebook. We’re getting, trying to get engaged in the discussion right. And we’d love for you guys to get involved. But you can get to my Twitter account by going to http://CraigPeterson.com/Twitter. http://CraigPeterson.com/Twitter will take you are right there.
But what’s really going on? I have heard some of the conservative commentators saying that they’ve been contacted by real people who are real followers of theirs who have been cut off by Twitter because Twitter says they were fake, that they were Russian bots. Although they had nothing to do with Russia and they were retweeting Sean Hannity and or Rush Limbaugh and or you know any of these conservative hosts out there. And that’s their only crime. You know I’m using the term crime kind of loosely here. But if you look on Twitter if you’re a Twitter user check out the hashtag #TwitterLockout. In fact you’ll see it in my e-mail this morning, my show notes right near the top. So you go to your e-mail. You’ll find my show notes, my e-mail from this morning and slide down a little bit. You’ll see there’s even a graphic for it that we’ve created because it has become such a very, very big deal.
But if you look for Twitter lockout and have a poke around, which I did, you’ll see all kinds of people saying that their voices have been silenced by Twitter because they’re conservative. Now I don’t know if that should be a surprise to anyone. Twitter’s certainly acted this way before. Facebook acts against conservatives all the time. In fact there’s a huge movement to move to a third party Web site as opposed to Twitter although it tends to be mostly what’s being called Alt Right to kind of extremists. But you know we won’t get too political here. So these people are saying that they’ve had accounts mistakenly suspended. You can find them. You can see them yourself. And there’s an update in this article in Gizmodo that I have up my Web site at, again, http://CraigPeterson.com that summarizes some of these. Right.
So Twitter finally sent a statement because Gizmodo asked them what was going on. Here’s what Twitter said. Twitter’s tools are apolitical and we enforce our rules without political bias. As part of our ongoing work in safety we identify suspicious account behaviors that indicate automated activity or violations of our policies around having multiple accounts or abuse. We also take action on accounts we find that violate our terms of service including asking account owners to confirm a phone number so we can confirm a human is behind it.
- All right. And you can find the whole verifying account ownership thing online. And some people don’t provide the phone numbers or the phone numbers don’t work. The author here says he’s heard from at least a dozen real people who were knocked off by Twitter’s anti-bot whole program here. He says well actually it’s a she I guess, Coreen Clark. Thank you for your reply, Matt. My account was part of the purge this morning. It first cleared all of the people I follow and I lost over a thousand followers. But those have been mostly recovered as the day goes on and they were able to confirm their accounts. So Twitter’s algorithm is it left leaning? Is it anti conservative? Is it just plain stupid? You know again, I’ve talked about fake news before. Here’s how I look at this thing. You cannot be an unbiased reporter. It is absolutely impossible because from the moment you decide what article you want to write or what topic you want to cover, you have a bias. Because you selected that topic over all of the other potential topics out there. You have a bias. Everyone has a bias. Unfortunately they don’t admit it. Now that extends to programmers. The whole start of this I was talking about programmers and does a programmer’s bias show up in the programs they write? And the answer to that is obviously yes. How can you decide whether an account is real or not? Frankly you just can’t.
All right stick around. I’m going to give a shout out here to, this is just an incredible story. I am so excited. If you were alive in the 1980s you saw a Tom Cruise movie that has continued to be a favorite of many, many people myself included. And we’re going to talk about someone right from Litchfield, New Hampshire who was an active part, well not of Tom Cruise’s movie, but an active part of what is going on in the U.S. Navy. Very cool. We’ll talk about that when we get back. As well as state election officials here. Paper ballots. Paper or computer? What’s going on? And we’re also going to talk a little bit about electronic payments. So stick around. You’re listening to Craig Peterson. Of course you can go online and subscribe at http://CraigPeterson.com/subscribe. You’ll see all of our show notes there and you can always text me. If you want to get reminders to listen to the show. I send out before the show starts a tax to everyone with the link directly to iHeart so you can listen to me live right here on the radio. And the only way to get onto that list where I send you your text message Saturday mornings I don’t abuse it. I don’t sell it. I’m not sending you a lot of stuff. Typically it’s one text a week and less there is a major security emergency in which case I’ll let you know. But just text my name, Craig. C-R-A-I-G to my phone number 855-385-5553. Text my name Craig 855-385-553. I’ll send you out that link letting you know when I’m going live here on the iHeart Radio app as well as at http://iHeart.com. And on these radio stations as well. AM 610 and FM 96.7. Stick around. We’ll be right back.
Craig: [00:37:01] I just love that. That is probably one of the best bumps I have from wow that’s probably 15 years ago. I had Chardan do that for me. He used to be a program director here at the station many, many years ago. So and by the way my mom does listen to this show.
Election officials here across the nation. I was on the radio in Maine this week in fact and we were talking about elections because I was on the air and right before me was the Secretary of State for the state of Maine. And he was talking about how safe their voting system is because they’re using computers. But you know they are not internet connected. They do the software firmware updates by taking a USB thumb drive and plugging it into the machine. So they get their software updates and they put the grids that are used to figure out what you’re voting for and how you’re voting. They put all of that on the thumb drive and upload it all. And so they’re safe. And this report that came out that started the research started in the Obama administration and came out about a year later during the Trump administration the report that said that the Russians had been trying to break into, I think it was about 16 or 17 states’ computer systems, none of them by the way in New England. And he said yeah, but you know the reality is they didn’t get anywhere. There’s no evidence they got in. There’s no evidence that they were actually able to tamper with the votes.
I look at all of that. And to me it screams short sighted. And it screams a lack of understanding about computer systems and how this all works. And if Secretary of State Bill Gardner here in New Hampshire would like to sit down and chat I’d be glad to do that. I’m sure he has some bright people there are helping with the Secretary of State’s office. But there are a lot of steps involved with the electronic voting machines and in New Hampshire we use a hybrid system. There is a paper ballot that’s actually filled out by the voter. And then there is a computer system that analyzes, tabulates all of these votes and sends them up where they’re all correlated and the information is put out. And we now know who won the election. Right. All well and good but let’s consider all of the steps. You’ve got, we’ll just talk about what the secretary of state of Maine was saying and as I said I think they’re being very shortsighted because he was looking at it saying hey, listen basically our machines are what we in the industry call air gapped. In other words there’s no direct connection from the voting machine to the Internet. And it sounds like from his description and running around with thumb drives there they are not also connected to any network, let alone connected to the Internet. OK.
So just put up the wrong thing here on Facebook live. So OK. That’s a great thing. We were talking before the break about programmers and about bias. Well when we’re talking about security those same programmers also have biases. And their biases, basically they don’t even have to come to the surface right. The biases can be you deep down where they’re saying to themselves or maybe subconsciously there’s no way anybody would do X. There’s no way they could do Y. Z is never going to happen. So you just don’t work with those. 90 percent of all software written when you write a program, a good 90 percent sometimes it’s even more, is to handle the edge conditions and to handle the error conditions. And the part of the software that the software writer is least likely to check thoroughly is the error handling and the error conditions. Why? Because that’s the stuff that scares them the most. I know that right. I have written hundreds of thousands of lines of code in my day. Most of it networking code. Most of it’s code to run the computers you’re using right now. My code is still in use today. Right. So I know what I’m talking about here. So they don’t test the edge conditions. They don’t test all the error conditions. They don’t even think about all of them. They don’t handle all of them.
So what happens when, let’s do something simple OK. Something very simple. And that is if you use an electronic voting machine one where you’re touching things or let’s say you’re using a system like we use right here in my home state of New Hampshire where you have a card and the card is filled in. Someone has to define what each area of the card being marked means. Someone has to define what a touch on each area of the screen means. Easy enough to make a mistake. It’s easy enough for the software and the voting machines to make a mistake trying to interpret that. The only way we can be safe is with completely paper ballots. I like what we’re doing in New Hampshire, generally speaking, where you can audit it because you can pull out that piece of paper. You can spot check machines. You can spot check all kinds of stuff right to know if it worked or not and then you can manually go in and count the votes after the fact.
All right it’s been a great day. Appreciate you being with us. And I want to mention here that I didn’t really get time to do it. And a shout out to Petty Officer Third Class Ray Triboulet. He’s a yeoman working with fighter squadron composite T13 stationed aboard Naval Air Station Fallon Nevada. We are talking about training the navy’s best pilots at Top Gun.
So congratulations to Petty Officer Triboulet and everyone that is in his life and that helped him over the years Alvern High School. Of course from Litchfield, New Hampshire. Great shout out. Thanks for your service. Check it out online, http://CraigPeterson.com/subscribe. We’ll be here again next week for another episode covering the latest in technology and security news. You’re listening to Craig Peterson. Have a great week.
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