Information Technology, Politics

Was Putin Really Sticking Up for Bernie Sanders?

Ah the infotainment channels (I shudder to call them news channels) are all up in arms about President Obama’s speech about Russian Hackers. The story has been brewing for a while now. Odd that influence peddlers waited until _after_ the election to make a big stink about it. The New York Times had a somewhat irresponsible article back on December 9, 2106 making the claim Putin was trying to influence the election. I mean, if they cared so much about people reading other people’s email they should have hauled Google executives off to Gitmo and abandoned them there years ago. Just how do they think, after writing an email to a personal friend about the Yugo being the worst car to ever hit American shores their Web searches suddenly are awash with ads for vintage Yugos? Google is “Big Brother.” Always invading, always recording, always putting their properties ahead of all others in search results.

I make the claim that NYT article was somewhat irresponsible because, quite honestly, they could have just been sticking up for Bernie Sanders. We all saw the SNL portrayed Bernie and the way media beholden to the Democratic party kept asking when he was going to drop out. That release came just in time for the Democratic convention. To make the claim it was only to support Trump is disingenuous at best. Had their been even a shred of integrity in either Clinton or the upper ranks of the Democratic party at that convention they would have handed the crown to Bernie, and they would have won the election. The combination of the #nevertrump and #neverclinton groups would have been enough to push him to a landslide victory. Their corruption was their undoing, not the email release.

Make no mistake Mr. President, I was born Republican but I liked you and voted for you twice. America long ago gave up the right to become indignant over the meddling of one country in the affairs of another. How about our role in Chile? Installation of the Shah of Iran? Bay of Pigs?

Ancient history you say? Not on your watch? Well, let us move forward to Edward Snowden, the NSA firmware hacking, and STUXNET. (Though I have to admit the hard drive firmware hack was pretty sweet. No way to low level format that baby from the drive.) Despite the indignation of having your PE shorts pulled down during coed class, what they did was high school at best. Those people actually wrote those emails and it really did prove Bernie’s point that the primary had been rigged against him.

Let us be honest. I have spent roughly 30 years in IT. When people moved to low cost/free operating systems on x86 type hardware, they gave up all pretense of security. Those proprietary mid-range and mainframe systems branded as “bad” during the marketing hoopla had one thing the free stuff on cheap hardware will never have, security.

I can remember writing my first electronic income tax filing system. We had to have a special and expensive BiSync modem. The firmware ID of the modem, something akin to a MAC address in today’s network terms, had to be manually entered into an authorization file at the IRS facility before a connection would even issue a login prompt. Then you had to actually log in before the site identified itself. We weren’t allowed to actually push data into any IRS system, only to drop a data file on this machine visible to the outside world. Some time later the file was transfered and parsed. Raw data moved to an air gapped system. No possibility of hacking.

Ease of access means ease of hacking. I’ve told it to my clients many times over the decades

cheap = hackable

So, please, stop the rhetoric over this high school prank. Your crooked candidate lost. You got your shorts pulled down in front of the class. Pull them back up and play on. The Game of Thrones continues. Instead of complaining about Russia, pass the Ethics in Income act to end the debate over minimum wage forever. Now that would be a lasting legacy.