January 2, 2017

When did Democrats start seeing the Russian menace behind every rock? Over the weekend, the Washington Post breathlessly declared that Russian hackers had penetrated America’s electricity grid. Democratic politicians rushed to sound alarms over it. The paper then had to retract the story after the truth turned out to be far less dramatic: the same malware code that the FBI claimed “Russian hackers” used to trick the DNC had been found on a random Burlington Electric worker’s laptop. It’s actually a piece of code found on a lot of computers that don’t undergo regular security scans, and the laptop wasn’t even connected to the power grid. Apparently, nobody at the Post bothered to check that, and none of the media outlets that repeated the Post story called Vermont utility officials to verify it. More details are at the link, along with the ho-hum reactions of people who know more about computers than WaPo does. I’ll bet that includes some of your pre-teen nieces and nephews.

The Democrats are right about one thing: Americans need to be very careful not to take scary stories at face value, particularly when they come from known purveyors of “fake news.”

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