Freewheeling killer clowns strolled alongside political whistleblowers, and Bernie Sanders shared the road with Betelgeuse as the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade made its way through downtown Manhattan. (Yahoo News)
The Biden administration is to step up cybersecurity after a ransomware attack crippled the biggest oil pipeline on the US east coast. An executive order is expected within weeks instructing federal agencies and contractors to plug security gaps that have left them vulnerable to a wave of cyberattacks in recent months. The latest assault, on the 5,500 mile Colonial Pipeline which provides nearly half the fuel used on the US East Coast, is believed to have been carried out by DarkSide, a cybercriminal group operating out of Russia and Eastern Europe. It wrought havoc on the company's computer network forcing the shutdown of the pipeline which runs from New Jersey to Texas. It is feared the attack could cause a further spike in fuel prices in the US which have already been soaring in recent months. Colonial, which normally ships 2.5 million barrels a day, serves consumers in the mid-Atlantic and southeast of the US. Its customers include the world's busiest passenger airport in Atlanta. In a statement confirming that it had been the victim of a ransomware attack, the company said it had called in cybersecurity experts to conduct an investigation. A spokesman for the Colonial Pipeline said some smaller pipelines have been restored. "We are in the process of restoring service to other laterals and will bring our full system back online only when we believe it is safe to do so, and in full compliance with the approval of all federal regulations." In only the last few days cyberattacks have been reported on the police department in Washington DC, in which criminals threatened to release details about informants and the Illinois Attorney General's office. Experts say that ransomware attacks have proliferated in recent months targeting hospitals, municipalities and police departments. In February drastically increased changed the level of sodium hydroxide in water after penetrating cybersecurity at a Florida treatment plant. The hundredfold increase in the proportion of the chemical, the main ingredient in drain cleaners, made the water undrinkable. As many as 2,400 organisations were hit by ransomware demands last year. According to a report issued by a ransomware task force, the amount paid by victims more than tripled last year, compared with 2019 reaching an estimated $350 million (£250 million). The Biden administration has vowed to take on the cybercriminals. Alejandro Majorkas, the Homeland Security Secretary, said this was "one of our most important priorities right now" as he announced a "60-say sprint" to tackle ransomware. Bloomberg reported the DarkSide hackers took nearly 100 gigabytes of data from Colonial's network. DarkSide, which made no mention of the Colonial attack on its dark-net website, emerged last August carrying out a series of ransomware attacks on an array of organisation. It even issued a press release at the time. "We are a new product on the market, but that does not mean that we have no experience and we came from nowhere," the criminals boasted.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) made public the inevitable on Sunday, telling Fox News' Maria Bartiromo that he supports Rep. Elise Stefanik's (R-N.Y.) bid for GOP conference chair. The No. 3 House position is currently held by Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), but she appears to be on the way out after clashing with many of her colleagues over the future of the party, particularly regarding whether former President Donald Trump should play a role. Cheney is one of the most prominent Trump critics within the GOP, and while McCarthy maintained his support for her for a while, he has recently made it clear that he considers her stance to be a hindrance to party unity, which is why he's backing Stefanik, a Trump loyalist, albeit one with a much more mixed voting record than the consistently conservative Cheney. Stefanik thanked McCarthy for his endorsement. The conference chair vote is expected to take place Wednesday. There’s the public McCarthy endorsement. He’s been working for @EliseStefanik behind the scenes. https://t.co/2gS37ezH57 — Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) May 9, 2021 More stories from theweek.com5 scathingly funny cartoons about anti-vaxxers jeopardizing herd immunityA new trick from identity thievesEurope is back in recession. It's not just the virus.
The Scottish Tories are no longer “just the party of Ruth Davidson” and will now broaden their offer to voters beyond opposition to independence, Douglas Ross has pledged. The party leader defied predictions last week to maintain the number of Conservative MSPs at Holyrood, winning 31 seats and a record number of votes by campaigning relentlessly against a second referendum. However, Mr Ross, who took over from Jackson Carlaw last August, said he would now look to build a credible government-in-waiting, and admitted acting as a strong opposition to the SNP at Holyrood was “not enough”. He outlined his determination to win Bute House from the nationalists in 2026 and become Scotland’s first ever Tory First Minister. “Now is the time to come together in the national interest and deliver Scotland’s recovery from Covid,” Mr Ross said, in a post-election statement. “But longer term, to succeed in rebuilding Scotland from the last 14 years, we can’t just stop the SNP. We need to challenge them for the top job.
Fox News SundayFox News anchor Chris Wallace repeatedly grilled Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) about former President Donald Trump’s role in the Capitol insurrectionist riot, asking if he believes it is a “lie” that the 2020 election was stolen.Banks, chairman of the Republican Study Committee, has been one of the key figures in the House GOP when it comes to ousting Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) from leadership over her refusal to accept Trump’s bogus claims about the election. The Indiana congressman has called Cheney’s continued criticism of Trump “an unwelcome distraction,” adding that “this idea that you just disregard President Trump is not where” the GOP is.Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Banks defended his push to replace Cheney with Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), a fervent Trump supporter who has publicly backed Trump’s election lies. At the same time, Wallace noted that Banks seemed “unwilling to discuss” Cheney’s criticism of the former president.“I'm not,” Banks declared, adding: “I know the belief that I have, that a majority of our conference have, that she has lost focus on the single mission that we have in winning back the majority, to push back against the radical Biden agenda, is the reason that she needs to be replaced.”Nonetheless, Liz Cheney PersistedUnsatisfied with Banks’ dodge, the veteran Fox News anchor said he was going to “try to get at this a different way,” asking the Republican lawmaker straight-up if he believes that Joe Biden is the legitimate president.“Yes, Joe Biden was elected. He was inaugurated on January 20,” Banks replied, prompting Wallace to get more specific with his questions.Noting that Banks had joined a Texas lawsuit challenging Biden’s electoral victory in several states, Wallace pointed out that he also objected to Congress’ certification of Biden’s election win on Jan. 6—the day of the deadly insurrection at the Capitol.“Do you still question whether or not Joe Biden won the election fair and square and got over 270 electoral votes, fair and square?” Wallace pressed the conservative lawmaker.“I stand by my vote to object on January 6 and stand by the Texas lawsuit. I have serious concerns about how the election in November was carried out,” Banks replied. “That is where most Republicans in the GOP conference are unified around that single mission and goal and anything that distracts from it will hold us back from doing that.”Wallace, meanwhile, noted that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had said that Trump “bears responsibility” for the Capitol riots, wondering aloud if Banks felt McCarthy was wrong at the time. Deflecting once again, Banks merely said “every Republican denounced” the violence and there should be a commission to study what happened that day.“I’m just asking a question,” Wallace fired back. “Liz Cheney is saying it’s a big lie to say the election was stolen. Liz Cheney is saying that, in fact, Donald Trump contributed to the riot. I’m asking you for your opinion on those issues. Is it a lie that the election was stolen? Did he contribute to the insurrection on the Capitol?”Insisting that he’s “never said the election was stolen,” Banks still went on to say that he has “very serious concerns with how the election was conducted last November” before reiterating that he’ll “never apologize” for objecting to the election results.“When Liz Cheney says history’s watching and you upon can’t go forward until you resolve this question—the election was fair and square, Donald Trump played a negative role—you think she’s misguided making those points?” Wallace asked in one final question to the congressman.“Yeah, I’ve called on Liz Cheney to rejoin the Republican team and help us go out and win a majority in the midterm election,” Banks affirmed. “That is where my frustration bubbled up.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.