Greetings, readers of recent events! It’s been a while since I’ve had time to stop by here. Here’s a few words about why- and also, a few words as to how it all ties in with the impeachment of Donald Trump, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced around noon on Thursday would definitely proceed.
Ultimately, what the whole Ukrainegate scandal comes down to is that lying is bad and the illegitimate president lied. Trump is a terrible, unrepentant liar. He’s a totally unfit role model for American children. It’s for their sake that he has got to go.
Here at Millennial Democrats, the anti-disinformation war is central to our very purpose; we call that division MD-DissectFake. It is why we exist. To say, as people are doing in the disinformation age, that the truth no longer matters enough to fight for, and that in fact we now live in a post-truth reality in which Americans no longer value their values, is to speak pure evil and embrace a descent into nihilism and destability. Never that.
We have answered those people firmly today in announcing Trump’s impeachment will go on.
Donald Trump, with his unrepentant falsehoods on the subject of his now-infamous attempt to leverage Ukraine, withholding key funds needed for their war against Russia who has robbed them, has disgraced our country, as have the vitriolic rants against the whistleblower who brought this to America’s attention. Simply stated, this had to be done. No one is above the law in a country without kings, not even the President.
If that is not worth fighting for then nothing is.
Don’t let anyone tell you this is just partisan politics or a witch hunt, either. Pelosi never wanted to impeach Trump. She fought it every way she could for years, and we helped her, because of one key factor. We didn’t have enough yet, which sadly was still the case even after Robert Mueller‘s Russiagate investigation had concluded. Vladimir Putin laughingly said that it was as though a mountain had given birth to a mouse, which of course is what he wants to think.
This is how we know Vladimir Putin is beatable.
What Mueller’s investigation actually was, the perspective time brings us has helped us to understand, represented a vast foundation, something we could build a case upon so big it would one day dwarf Trump Tower.
At the time I predicted that a Donald Trump now flabbergasted with relief would soon find his worst instincts bolstered by an unrestrained ego, one he is nowhere near self-aware enough to realize. I was sure that sooner or later, something would happen where he’d bite off more than he could chew, and go down after all.
Sure enough, it did, and far faster than anyone figured.
“I need you to do me a favor though” will prove to be famous last words, like the ones never spoken by the doomed General Custer at the Little Bighorn.
I knew that if that day ever came, the 448-page morass of the Mueller Report (link provided) would be waiting for him, to catch him when he falls. It’ll gather flowers constantly, and will come whenever he calls. The Mueller Report would be there to open his each and every door.
It ain’t me you’re looking for, babe.
Not even close.
The House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday voted to send their own voluminous report on Trump’s conduct to the Judiciary Committee, who in turn will physically write the articles of impeachment against Trump. Oh good, I thought, happy to be heading back up this way. Time to go hit Donald Trump again and topple him, like the statue of the founder of the Cheka, his poll numbers be damned.
I wouldn’t miss this for the world.
The importance of fighting disinformation is to me so basic that it’s engraved in my spirit at this point, and Trump’s horrid Ukraine behavior is the biggest reason why that I can think of. It is all along the same timeline as Russiagate and their interference in our 2020 election. Here at Millennial Democrats, we realize fully the necessity of fighting for the inclusion of honesty in the canon of American values, and I have been preparing.
For the last several years, more than twelve hundred hacking attempts have been made against this blog by radicals who do not agree with what I’m saying. They are politically motivated, and they’re running a vast Radical Disinformation Pipeline. Trump hit us hard using that channel many times, particularly damaging were the WikiLeaks email dumps of 2016. They will continue supporting him all through next year, and the heat is just beginning.
It’s time for us to fight back. By the way, a friend of ours will be launching a Technology Corps very soon, a nonprofit called Truth in Vision-Research and Tech Corps. Check it out; I think you will find it’s up to standards.
Just earlier this week, the Russians came back on social media, Instagram to be exact, and are now busily infesting the campaign of Pete Buttigieg, who has taken no action. This just started, and you folks are some of the first to know. Warn everyone you can; the moment we’ve been training for has come. Stay ready.
Going forward, we’ve got to remind people of what we’re fighting both for and against and stay true to our values, because getting rid of Trump becomes worthless if we’re just going to do the same that he is. Democrats are better than this. And very soon in court, we’re going to show the world why lying is bad-by paying Donald Trump the full wages of his crimes.
We have received numerous requests for a focus piece regarding cyber-defense for Democrats, especially right now as we are going into the midterms. In it is an introduction to a number of the techniques we can use to defend ourselves going forward. Knowledge is power. Pass it on.
Regular readers of Millennial Democrats will not require a lot of explanation as to how and why the threat of Russian hacking is real. We have been up against it for years. The time has come to soberly and objectively assess Russia’s cyberwarfare capabilities, and examine how we plan to fight back.
In 2016, America was caught off guard and we got a bloody nose. Guys like Roger Stone’s buddy Guccifer 2.0, or the guys in Fancy Bear pulled a fast one, to be sure.
They had the element of surprise back then. Most people had no idea what they were doing(and rolled their eyes at those who were trying to warn them, but that’s another subject). These days things are very different.
Regardless of the lies of the great orange malignance, America knows the Russians are out to get us. Trump is sticking his head in the sand on this and will do nothing to help us, so we’re going to have to learn to help ourselves, and each other.
It’s too bad we’ve got no national leadership on this, but it is what it is. We’ll get by on our own.
In starting out, the most important thing to keep in mind is this: Hackers rely on our mistakes, and mistakes are most often made when we don’t know we are making them. They need to catch us off guard, and their job is to find creative ways to use their tools to get us to slip up.
The first place a smart hacker will look is outside the box, so to speak. They’re always looking for ways to burrow in that you wouldn’t think to look for.
Employing a given system, be it a human being or a PC, for a purpose it wasn’t designed for is what hacking means. However, if you’re careful, neither you nor your computer will end up thus employed. It’s all about being careful.
Hackers are clever, be they Russian or from elsewhere, but they are far from invincible. We’ve already stopped a number of Russian cyber-assaults directed at Democrats this year, such as the ones aimed at our Claire McCaskill.
Without the element of surprise, hackers have many limitations. It’s not that easy to brute-force open a website. Just ask these guys:
Basic cyber-hygiene techniques would cut down on more than 80 percent of cyber attacks and cyber thefts, according to Herbert Lin, senior research scholar for cyber policy and security at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. It will benefit us to learn a few.
There is a great deal of white-hat(ethical hacking) work that can be done to defend America in this realm, and most of it has to do with how careful we are.
We repeat- It’s all about being careful. This cannot be repeated too often.
In this piece, we’re going to talk about a few common mistakes made by end-users(that means us, the consumer) and how they are exploited by criminals. We’re also going to talk about some of these cyber-hygiene measures and assign them three rules of thumb.
Don’t open strange emails.
Don’t click on strange links.
Don’t accept chat messages from people you don’t know, particularly on Facebook.
Before we get started, think for a second about all your other social media accounts. Are they just as secure as your Facebook or Twitter? Make sure they are! That’s the first place a hacker will go to collect more data about you. You’re particularly vulnerable to having your account on the ones you don’t often use pried open.
As an aside, this is also why you don’t want to use the same passwords for everything. Passwords are obviously critical, as somebody who’s got them has got all your information at his fingertips. Be careful!!
A great deal of a hacker’s job revolves around getting the passwords of their victims. Their most popular tools are all various ways to apply “spear-phishing” hacks, designed to steal passwords and personal data. The unlucky “phish” who opens one has become a victim and is now open to all kinds of trouble.
There are all kinds of ways to go spear-phishing. A brand new one showed up not long ago when U.S. government agencies recently received letters via snail mail.
One example that all readers of this blog will vividly recall took place on March 10, 2016, when the first volley of malicious e-mail messages hit the inboxes of thirty people who were closely associated with the Hillary Clinton campaign. Inside them were links that were actually viruses, like worms on a hook.
Nearly all of them were failures. All but one, actually. But one was enough.
Within nine days, a horrendous amount of critical data had been stolen and passed along to Wikileaks, to be strategically released in a way they figured would hurt us. It did.
Those leaked e-mails, in which Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was seen to be fussing over Bernie’s lack of ability to fill out campaign finance forms correctly, were spun up into a narrative that Bernie(who lost by four million popular votes) had been cheated.
Bernie or Bust bought it, there were riots in the streets of Philadelphia, and a rift was torn in the Democratic Party that still has yet to heal.
All of that was made possible, with just a few phished passwords.
To combat phishing is to make sure everyone knows how common and damaging these attacks can be. Everyone should keep their guard up when checking emails, and they should report any email they find suspicious.
It’s necessary to point out here that Facebook phishing in particular is horrendously easy. They can hack you right through your chat box. We recommend in the strongest possible terms that you put as little of your personal information as possible on Facebook.
Facebook presents about a million added vulnerabilities to all of us that use it. When Edward Snowden was asked what to do to keep your data safe on that platform, his response was, “Delete your account.”
We can’t recommend that, as Facebook gives us access to 2 billion people, but we can recommend this much. If people you don’t know send you strange messages on Facebook, don’t accept them.
“We are looking at just some of the malicious material that already may be circulating or will be released before the midterms. It also bears repeating that we know the campaign of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) was targeted.”
Cyber-intelligence experts see this as being major, and with clear reason.
Moving on, it isn’t only Facebook and social media you’ve got to be careful with. Websites too are vulnerable.
Anecdotally, the webmaster of this site has seen hackers from all over the world try to take us down, from Beijing, China to Lviv, Ukraine, from Adelaide, Australia to Beauharnois, Quebec. They use all kinds of tricks, but they’ve never gotten in and they never will.
This is not because I’m a cyber-genius who speaks binary code, but because WordPress is awesome.Sucuri, the plugin that keeps safe all of us Millennial Democrats, is likewise excellent. They care about their clients and they hold the same liberal values sacred that we do.
Wordpress users should strongly consider using Sucuri, not least for the reverse IP trace it automatically performs. This has the benefit of letting you know a lot more about who’s trying to hack you. Sometimes it will tell you everything.
Once a flower store owner from Adelaide, Australia tried to hack us. By using a reverse IP trace, Sucuri let us know who she was as soon as she had done so. Then we went to a site called WhatismyIPaddress.com, put it in, and voila.
We were able to get the name of her business by looking at the name of her domain. We then used that to look her up, and jackpot. We found the store’s address, website, and owner. We also found far-right garbage smeared all over her life.
I could put her on blast right here with a screenshot like this one:
Luckily for her, I’m not that mean. But the next guy might be. It’s a dangerous game for newbies (noobs- learn your hacker-ese) to play. It’s easy to run into trouble.
Change your life, would-be hacker flower store owner! Mend your wicked ways, before it’s too late.
Speaking of WordPress, using the two-factor authentication feature they offer as part of their platform is another good idea. This is a highly effective security measure and is available for Facebook, Gmail, WordPress, and many other major platforms.
Using this feature means a second device’s input will be required to access email accounts or websites on new computers, usually by prompting you and sending an SMS code to your phone or whatever. This can prevent scammers from accessing compromised accounts.
In addition to good cyber-hygiene, which amounts to common sense, caution, and our three rules of thumb, there are some tools we can use to make our online experience safer still. You may find this necessary, from time to time.
Guccifer 2.0 recently made a mistake and forgot to turn his VPN on, and we connected him to an IP address connected to Russian intelligence. Now his whole identity is blown because he didn’t use his VPN.
We strongly recommend getting one of these, specifically IVPN. They take protecting their customers super seriously and they are located on the Rock of Gibraltar. That fortress strikes me as a good place to keep anything valuable.
HotspotShield is another good one, and also NordVPN. There’s a lot of them; shop around and find one that’s right for you. We feel it’s worth repeating that they are a very good investment.
Additional tools include TOR(The Onion Router), which offers a former naval encryption system that we can now all use. Tor takes all your internet traffic and routes it through its own network, providing total anonymity.
The DuckDuckGo browser, which Tor employs, is good to know about also. It has a number of different features that keep you safe, including a “Flame” feature that burns up all your cookies in a second. Pretty cool.
Now, just as then, there is a need for deterrence, to defend the nation and hopefully prevent a further escalation of tensions. There is more at stake than we can even put into words. We need to be ready.
There are bigger dangers here than the usual America vs. Russia, liberal world order vs the new world order that the extremist crazies keep screaming that they want kind of thing. This is different completely.
One superpower actively destroying the democratic process of another is new and very dangerous, especially since Russian destability tactics rely heavily on disinformation and a systematic devaluing of the truth.