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Hacking 101
Author: BobR    Date: 04/20/2017 13:17:57

Most people have no idea how hacking anything actually works. We've all seen the movies where several "nerds" wearing headsets are sitting in room with wires and cables going everywhere, and about 15 displays with all kinds of scrolling numbers and "code". They are all staring intently, typing feverishly, until one of them somberly announces "I'm in".

That's good for visual drama, but reality is a lot more mundane. The biggest resource for hacking isn't some special "code-breaker" program, but the human element. The tricks are many (by now, most people are already aware of "phishing" emails). Even the old "Nigerian Prince" letters that we used to get in snail mail are a form of hacking. It's all about using psychology to get people to react in a way you want them to. All it takes is an official looking email warning a person about an intrusion with a link to "change your password", and - boom - someone has your login credentials and has "hacked" the system.

That's why when the discussion is about the Russians "hacking the election", the definition of what is meant by that is crucial. In some minds, if the Russians didn't actually access the voting machines and vote-tallying systems, then the vote wasn't really "hacked". This is applying a very narrow definition of hacking to obfuscate the reality of how much the entire election was influenced by Russian psychological manipulation.

The reality is that a Russian think-tank took a two-pronged approach to achieve their goal of getting Donald tRump elected. The first prong "recommended the Kremlin launch a propaganda campaign on social media and Russian state-backed global news outlets to encourage U.S. voters to elect a president who would take a softer line toward Russia than the administration of then-President Barack Obama". The second one was to "intensify its messaging about voter fraud to undermine the U.S. electoral system’s legitimacy and damage Clinton’s reputation in an effort to undermine her presidency".

Russia Today [editor's note: generally referred to as "RT"] and Sputnik published anti-Clinton stories while pro-Kremlin bloggers prepared a Twitter campaign calling into question the fairness of an anticipated Clinton victory, according to a report by U.S. intelligence agencies on Russian interference in the election made public in January.
(report here).

The sad thing is - normally Democratic voters bought it. All of the negative stories about Clinton overshadowed the lifetime legacy she had of doing good works for our country. Our U.S. media didn't help, picking up and repeating the stories in an effort to keep the race close enough to be "interesting" so that viewers would keep tuning in. In other words: more entertainment than enlightenment.

The saddest of the "friendly fire" came from people who were once respected as "lefty" voices. The RT network is home to several of them, including Thom Hartmann, Ed Schultz, and Larry King. Another RT supporter also just happened to be running against Clinton in the general election. Jill Stein is seen in the photo below sitting at the same table as Vladimir Putin and disgraced former tRump national security advisor Michael Flynn at an RT network function.


Anyone who voted for the Green Party candidate because Clinton was "too moderate" should be ashamed. Even tRump has denied being helped by the Russians (lying though he is); Stein was happy to break bread with the Russian dictator if it helped her cause. It's a shame this photo wasn't more widely distributed to her deluded supporters before the election. The fact that she got as far as she did and as many votes as she did shows just how effective the Russian hacking of the election was.

This has been an extremely damaging and painful lesson for our country. Election interference isn't always big and splashy. Russia's intent was to cause Americans to lose faith in the candidates and the process, and it worked. America elected an easily manipulated buffoon, a useful idiot for their long-range plans.

Well done Russia. I hope we're a little more savvy next time.

50 comments (Latest Comment: 04/20/2017 19:07:44 by Mondobubba)
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