Email Security and Encryption Interview with Fox News Affiliate

“On Monday, 25 July 2016, I was interviewed by our local Fox News affiliate on the topic of email security. The report is archived below, the original is online.” ~ Greg Johnson


Full Report

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (CBS2/FOX28) — Hackers have already disrupted the Democratic Party after releasing many damaging emails from the Democratic National Committee. They were embarrassing for party leaders and will likely result in at least the party chair stepping down this week.

But IT security for political groups and organizations at many different levels often balances on human error.

Running a campaign is a lot like a small business. There’s plenty of things to spend money on. With so much technology all around us, it’s often not an area where campaigns spend a lot of extra resources.

Physical protection is generally something we think politicians and their Secret Service Agents get right, especially at the highest levels.

Online, Director Greg Johnson says even they fall short.

“There are just so many points of failure,” said Johnson.

CBS2/FOX28 spoke to local campaigns and elected officials from both major political parties about their IT security. They say, generally, campaign staff email is handled through services like Google’s Gmail and some additional security options within those programs. Rarely will even the most Congressional races have a dedicated IT team to keep it safe.

“Just using Google, or some similar service, steps it up a bit, but it’s not entirely secure,” said Johnson.

Once a candidate is elected to Congress, their staff is brought on to Federal Government systems. That’s usually a step above most security, but Greg says it still doesn’t solve human carelessness.

“All it takes is for one person to lose their computer or have one person get their password and suddenly, that person has access to all those emails that somebody was copied on, or anything they’ve ever sent or received,” said Johnson. “It would be a huge collection of emails just from one account getting breached.”

Greg says there is encryption software that would make sure emails and information is locked and can only be accessed by someone with the right password. He says that can be free, or be as expensive at $175.

Square: Here’s Why You Need a Credit / Debit Card Reader (Videos)

Having the ability to receive credit card payments is very helpful — not just for those running a small business, but for anyone wanting to receive a payment from someone. These days people are less likely to carry cash or a checkbook. Cards and smartphones are becoming a more common currency tool.

Merchants sometimes issue refunds, rebates, or rewards on prepaid non-reloadable debit/credit cards. If you’d rather cash out the money, you can use a credit card processing device to get the money into your bank account.

There are several providers of credit/debit card processing readers: PayPalSquareUp, and Intuit (the QuickBooks people).

Square Card Readers

SquareUp (Square) is one of the most popular services and offers a very elegant retail ‘cash register’  with card reader that holds an iPad. There is also a bluetooth reader available for Apple Pay and cards with chips.

Learn More


SquareUp Videos

The Barbershop Club


Register Overview


Accepting Chip Card Payments with the Square Contactless and Chip Reader


Getting Started with the Square Contactless and Chip Reader


Everything you need to know about EMV (Chip Cards)

The $200 Computer With a 10-Year Warranty

There are five Goodwill Reboot stores in the nation. Iowa City is fortunate to be home to one of these authorized computer refurbishing  centers. We also have some other good sources of refurbished computers such as Midwest Computer Brokers.

This month, you can purchase a Windows 7 computer for about $200 and then on July 29, download and install the free Microsoft upgrade to Windows 10. (Learn More)

According to the Microsoft Windows lifecycle fact sheet, Microsoft will offer mainstream support for Windows 10 through 2020 and extended support through 2025.

So, theoretically, if your computer keeps running, which it should, you’ll receive the essential updates needed to keep the computer going for ten years.

Instructional Video

Upgrade Requirements

If you don’t see the Get Windows 10 app (the small Windows icon in your system tray), it might be because:

  1. Your device isn’t up-to-date with at least Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 Update
  2. Windows Update is turned off or is not set to received updates automatically
  3. You’ve blocked or uninstalled the necessary Windows Update functionality.
  4. Your device is not running genuine Windows
  5. Your device is running Windows 7 Enterprise, Windows 8/8.1 Enterprise, or Windows RT/RT 8.1, which are excluded from this reservation offer.
  6. Your device is managed as part of a school or business network. (Check with your IT administrator.)
  7. PCs that we determine cannot run Windows 10 will not see the Get Windows 10 app before July 29th. After July 29th, we’ll enable the icon in the system tray. This is to help ensure that you can easily check your PC’s compatibility if you choose.

Recording Television Shows to DVD with a Digital Video Recorder DVR DVD System

Here are a few of the options available for recording television shows to DVD:

  • TiVo. For about $12 a month, the TiVo subscription service provides a sophisticated user interface and intelligent content searching system making it easy to find and record all of your favorite shows to hard drive media system.
    • A TiVo Roamio DVR deck is required. The basic Roamio system is $200 and records up to 500 hours of programming. The Roamio Plus is $400 and records 1,000 hours of programming along with the ability to watch recorded videos on your mobile device while away from home.
    • To record to DVD, you’ll need Roxio Media Creator (for Windows) or Roxio Toast (for Apple). However, compatibility with TiVo has diminished over the years, and support seems to be nonexistent with only user support forums as a resource.
  • Panasonic DMR-EH69 DVR. A Panasonic DVR system doesn’t have the intelligent channel guide and show searching features of TiVo, but that also means there’s no monthly subscription fee. Once you determine which channel your shows are on, you can program the deck to record them. The 320GB deck is the best choice and can be purchased from Amazon ($450) or World Import ($439). So, it’s similar in price to the TiVo Roamio Plus deck, yet with fewer hours of recording capacity. Read more on Amazon.
  • Magnavox MDR557H/F7. At $326, the Magnavox DVR system with 1,000 GB of storage is by far the best value and offers about 3X the storage of a Panasonic desk. Read more on Amazon.

TiVo to DVD Instructions

Creating a DVD on a PC

To create DVDs on a PC, you will need to install Roxio Creator.

Visit the Roxio Creator 2012 home page for more information or to purchase Roxio Creator 2012.

Hide the steps
  1. Before you begin, make sure that you have transferred your shows to your computer using TiVo Desktop software for PC.
  2. Watch the video tutorial or download step-by-step instructions.

Creating a DVD on a Mac

To create DVDs on a Mac, you will need to install Toast 10 Titanium. To burn Blu-ray discs or HD DVDs of your high-definition TiVo recordings, you will also need the optional HD/BD Plug-in.

Visit for more information or to purchase Roxio Toast Titanium software.

Hide the steps
  1. Before you begin, make sure that you have transferred your shows to your Mac using Roxio Toast Titanium software.
  2. Launch Roxio Toast Titanium.
  3. Select the “Video” category, then select the “DVD-Video” project type from the left navigation window.
  4. If not already visible, open the Toast Media Browser by clicking the pull-down “Window” menu and selecting “Show Media Browser.”
  5. From the pull-down menu in the Media Browser, select “TiVo.”
  6. Select the show(s) you want to add, and drag them to the Toast window. Your selected shows will be added to your DVD-Video project.
  7. In the DVD-Video left navigation window, choose a menu style.
  8. To title your DVD, select “More” and enter a DVD title in the “Disc Name” field. Then click “OK.”
  9. Click the red button on the bottom right of the screen to burn your DVD.
  10. In the dialog box, set your DVD burning options and click “OK.”

    Note: If you have Toast Titanium and the HD/BD Plug-in, you can also create Blu-ray discs and High-Definition DVDs from your high-definition TiVo recordings.

See the Toast Titanium User Guide for more about creating DVDs.