An international hacker group has attacked the computer systems of an important US fuel pipeline. The cyberattack forced operators to shut down most of the systems of the pipeline. It is the largest attack on existing infrastructure in US history.
Colonial Pipeline pumps 2.5 million barrels of fuel from the Houston to the eastern coast every day. It supplies the major population centers and airports.
According to the FBI, the relatively new hacker group DarkSide is responsible for the attack. It is reported to be Russian-operated but has no connections to the Russian government. Days after the attack, Colonial Pipelineconfirmed that it had paid $4.4 million in ransom money to unlock the pipeline. As a result of the attack, panic-buying led to gas shortages in many areas of the eastern coast.
Ransomware attacks have been increasing steadily for some time. 2020 was the worst year in the history of cyberattacks.
Authorities are concerned about how vulnerable American infrastructure is. Especially since the pandemic started, more and more workers have been working from home, making it easier for hackers to get into the systems.
according to = as said by …
attack = here: to put bad code into a computer system, so that it doesn’t work anymore
authorities = people who are in charge of an organization
barrel = unit to measure oil = 159 liters
concerned = worried
confirm = to say that something is true
connection = link, tie
cyberattack = to use the Internet to get into a computer system and damage it
force = to make someone do something
fuel = here: gasoline or diesel
increase = to go up
infrastructure = important systems that a country needs, like, roads, railways, bridges, pipelines etc…
major = important
panic-buying = when people buy more things, because they think there won’t be enough in the future
pandemic = disease that affects people in many parts of the world
population centers = cities and areas in which many people live
ransom money = money that is paid to a hacker group to make the computer systems work again
ransomware = software that someone puts into your computer so that it doesn’t work the way it should; the attacker demands money to unlock it
South Carolina has become the fourth U.S. state to allow an alternative method of execution. Death rowinmates can now choose to be killed by a firing squad.
Many states have had problems getting drugs used for lethal injection, which is the standard form of execution in most states. Many manufacturers do not want their products used in executions. Now, South Carolina has passed a law making the electric chair the primary execution method if drugs for lethal injection are not available. Alternatively, inmates can opt for being executed by a firing squad. South Carolina has not carried out an execution since 2011.
The electric chair has been a controversial topic for many years, as those opposed to the death penalty say that it is an inhumane way of killing people.
The firing squad is currently allowed as a form of execution in three other states. Since 1970, three such executions have taken place. On a global scale, eight countries execute people by firing squad, including China, Iran and North Korea.
Although widespread discussion about capital punishment in the United States still going on, public support for the death penalty has gradually decreased. At the moment, the death penalty is allowed in 24 states.
alternative method = a different way
although = while
available = here: can be used or bought
capital punishment = when the state or government kills someone who has committed a crime
carry out = to do something that needs to be planned
controversial = much discussed with many opinions
currently = now, at the moment
death row inmate = prisoner who is waiting to be executed by a state or the government
decrease = go down
drugs = here: substance used for lethal injections
execution = if a state or the government kills a person as a form of punishment
firing squad =group of people who punish someone by shooting and killing them
global scale = around the world
gradually = slowly
including = also
inhumane = cruel and not acceptable
lethal injection = killing someone by putting a mixture of deadly drugs into their body
manufacturer = here: producer of drugs
opposed to = against
opt for = choose
primary = main
public support = here: all the people who agree with something
The population in the United States has grown to 331 million, an increase of about 7%, over the past decade. However, it is the slowest growth rate since the Great Depression between the two world wars.
The census, taken every ten years, has an impact on the Electoral College, and, as a result, the outcome of the presidential election.
The 2020 census shows that Texas is the big winner with the largest growth rate. 29 million people live in the state, whose population increased by 16% since the 2010 count. The southern state gained 2 seats in the Electoral College. One reason for the change may be the fact that more and more high-tech companies are leaving Silicon Valley and setting up headquarters in Texas.
For the first time in history, California’s population has actually decreased. Falling birth rates and more Californians leaving the state for other destinations have led to a loss of one electoral college seat.
According to the census, more and more Americans are leaving the northeastern US and the Midwest and heading towards in the sun-belt states of the south. Apart from Texas, Florida is another winner and has gained one seat.
The results of the census could increase Republican chances of winning back the White House in 2024, as typically Democratic states like California and New York have lost Electoral College seats while Republican strongholds have gained a few.
according to = as reported by …
birth rate = the number of people born for every 1,000 people in a certain place every year
census = the act of counting the number of people in a country
count = here: counting of the population
decade = ten years
decrease = to go down
destination = place to go to
Electoral College = group of people chosen by each state, who come together to elect the President of the United States
gain = get, receive
Great Depression = time after the Wall Street crash of 1929 in which banks and companies closed, and many people were out of work
growth rate = the speed at which something gets bigger
heading towards = moving in a certain direction
headquarters = the main building or offices that a company has
however = but
impact = influence
increase = to go up
loss = to lose something
outcome = results
population = the people who live in a country or state
Silicon Valley = area around San Francisco which is known as the center of the computer and high-tech industry
stronghold = area where you have a lot of support and many voters