I’ll start this post off by saying the blog that started up encouraging Irvine commissioner and City Council candidate Lauren Johnson Norris to resign is cowardly. There’s no one publicly attached to it, no names are assigned to the posts themselves and it’s part of the “par for course” anonymous “concerned neighbor” letters sent to Irvine households to sway public opinion is exactly the sort of reason the KKK wears hoods — to hide.
The latest post accuses Craig Norris, Johnson Norris’ husband, of racism, by …. me?
I left a comment on one of our posts here at TheLiberalOC that photos Norris took last fall of some of the paid signature gatherers for the referendum that became Measure B — which won by more than 11,000 votes in Irvine to deny the developer-friendly land swap for the Veteran’s cemetery — seemed to focus on a number of brown and black people as a warning to voters. These photos were featured in Melissa Fox’s blog deriding the paid signature gatherers. I posted the photos because I believed then — and still do — that the photos of Black and Latino signature gatherers was intended to illicit a specific response from Irvine voters; yes, I found the photos racist and said so. Norris wrote me shortly after the post went up threatening legal action if I didn’t remove them (“fair use” must be a concept he doesn’t get). And I did simply because I didn’t have the time to go to court.
A few years back, dear friends and neighbors on my street told me they encountered more racism in Irvine than they did in Alaska where the family of five lived for a few years while working in the petroleum industry. We were sorry to see them leave for a new job in Louisiana about five years ago. I still remember their youngest son coming home from school in tears because some kid called him the N-word on the playground. Since Trump was elected, increasing overt racism and reporting about it has become more prominent (the woman who called police on an 8 year old African-American kid selling cold water in San Francisco comes to mind).
I prefaced my comments that I’m sure Norris and Fox would disagree that the photos were racist, but that was my takeaway when I saw them. I see no reason to change my mind.
Now I am not exactly sure when the latest “Craig Norris accused of racism” post went up, but Norris sent me an email with a link to a blog post using a URL shortening program, but one I haven’t seen before. He sent it last week when I was offsite. My first thought was “is this another blog post?” So I confirmed Norris was the sender of the email and clicked the link. And that was my mistake.
The program launched a ransomware/malware screen; my security software kicked in and shut it down. I closed all the browsers, rebooted and ran full security scans of my system which ate about 2 hours of my day. What ransomware does is freeze your machine and prevent you from accessing applications or data unless you pay — usually in bitcoin. My security software saved my system, but I’m running multiple backups to the cloud and external devices today. I also had one of my clients — a genius when it comes to cybercrime — review Norris’s emails and he confirmed Norris likely was unaware he was sharing malware but most certainly did send it.
Via an email exchange yesterday, Norris admitted that he, and not a bot, sent the email with the URL shortener but he did not intend to infect my system with malware. I let him know his system is very likely part of the botnet used for criminal activity.
“In using that URL shortener, you sent me Malware that tried to make my computer part of a botnet. Your system is likely infected and being used for criminal purposes. Your machine is likely being used to send spam from a foreign based criminal entity. The hijacked link was generated by a machine in order to take over my system and monetize it. There is a charge back/credit code in the page designed to credit the bank account of the person who tried to add my machine to a botnet/clicknet. This is typical criminal overseas botnet stuff.
If it was your intention to infect my PC, do me the courtesy of admitting it. If that wasn’t your intent, clean up your system as its highly likely cyberthieves have access to your accounts and passwords.
Norris’s last email said he didn’t intend to infect my system and that he doubts his is infected. So he won’t be getting a visit from Irvine Police investigating cybercrime today. But much like his photographs from last fall were intended to illicit a response from voters but came off poorly, his email to me “congratulating” me on my quote in that terrible blog about his wife was intended to somehow shame me, both intentions failed. I stand by my comments and will encourage anyone who receives email from Norris to run a security scan on your system and make sure your software is up to date. He doubts his system is affected. I’m certain it is. And the road to hell is indeed paved with good intentions.
Lastly, Johnson Norris is the candidate for office (how she’s “the leading candidate” per her literature is for her to define). She’s going to be attacked from those on the right. She’s not going to get the support of Irvine Democrats who have lost trust with Melissa Fox — just look to the No on Measure B results as an indicator. Johnson Norris is more than capable to defending herself and her own reputation. Unintentional cybercrime from her husband in her defense is weak sauce.