• All this operational technology is connected to a central system.

    And as cyber-experts such as Jon Niccolls, from CheckPoint, explain, where there is connectivity, there is risk of cyber-attack:

    "All the devices used to run a modern pipeline are controlled by computers, rather than being controlled physically by people," he says.

    "If they are connected to an organisation's internal network and it gets hit with a cyber-attack, then the pipeline itself is vulnerable to malicious attacks."

    How did the hackers break in? Direct attacks on operational technology are rare because these systems are usually better protected, experts say.

    So it's more likely the hackers gained access to Colonial's computer system through the administrative side of the business.

    "Some of the biggest attacks we've seen all started with an email," Mr Niccolls says.

    "An employee may have been tricked into downloading some malware, for example.

    "We've also seen recent examples of hackers getting in using weaknesses or compromise of a third-party software.

    "Hackers will use any chance they get to gain a foothold in a network." Hackers could potentially have been inside Colonial's IT network for weeks or even months before launching their ransomware attack.

    In the past, criminals have cause mayhem after finding their way into the software programs responsible for operational technology.

    In February, a hacker gained access to the water system of Florida city and tried to pump in a "dangerous" amount of a chemical.

    A worker saw it happening on his screen and stopped the attack in its tracks.

    Similarly, in winter 2015-16, hackers in Ukraine were able to flick digital switches in a power plant, causing cuts affecting hundreds of thousands of people. pg slot

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  • Investigators at the largest fuel pipeline in the US are working to recover from a devastating cyber-attack that cut the flow of oil.

    The hack on Colonial Pipeline is being seen as one of the most significant attacks on critical national infrastructure in history.

    The pipeline transports nearly half of the east coast's fuel supplies and prices at pumps are expected to rise if the outage is long lasting.

    How can a pipeline be hacked? For many people, the image of the oil industry is one of pipes, pumps and greasy black liquid.

    In truth, the type of modern operation Colonial Pipeline runs is extremely digital.

    US pipeline hackers 'didn't mean to create problems' The ransomware surge ruining lives Pressure sensors, thermostats, valves and pumps are used to monitor and control the flow of diesel, petrol and jet fuel across hundreds of miles of piping.

    Colonial even has a high-tech "smart pig" (pipeline inspection gauge) robot that scurries through its pipes checking for anomalies. pg

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  • They include widening its membership, with an emphasis on recruiting black members, and hiring diversity advisers. It also said it would loosen its cloak of secrecy and strict admission rules.

    "Today's overwhelming vote to reform the Association reaffirms our commitment to change," said HFPA president Ali Sar in a statement on Thursday.

    How have people responded to the reforms? Many high-profile Hollywood figures have said the initiatives are not good enough.

    Ms Johansson, who has been nominated for five Golden Globes, urged others in the film industry to boycott the organisation unless it makes significant internal changes.

    The 36-year-old recalled facing "sexist questions and remarks by certain HFPA members that bordered on sexual harassment".

    Golden Globe award organisers expel former boss Nomadland and Borat win top awards at Globes "Unless there is necessary fundamental reform within the organization, I believe it is time that we take a step back from the HFPA and focus on the importance and strength of unity within our unions and the industry as a whole," she said.

    Ms Johansson's Avengers co-star Mark Ruffalo joined her, writing that the HFPA's reforms were "discouraging" in a social media post on Friday.

    "Now is the time to step up and right the wrongs of the past," he said. "Honestly, as a recent winner of a Golden Globe, I cannot feel proud or happy about being a recipient of this award." slot wallet

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  • Actor Scarlett Johansson has joined criticism of the body behind the Golden Globe Awards over how it plans to tackle discrimination.

    Golden Globe organisers the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) has been accused of a lack of diversity and shadowy workings.

    Earlier this week the body voted in reforms to widen its membership.

    But Ms Johansson is among stars and industry figures who say it still needs "fundamental reform".

    Why are the Globes being criticised? The Golden Globes are second only to the Oscars in terms of profile, but organisers have been accused of discriminatory practices, accepting "freebies" and other ethical lapses.

    In February, an exposé in the Los Angeles Times revealed there were no black people among the organisation's 87 members who vote for the awards.

    This week, the HFPA outlined a package of reforms to how it works in a bid to make the organisation more inclusive. all slot

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  • US cable network NBC is the latest media giant to boycott the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) over a lack of diversity.

    NBC, which has aired the Golden Globes awards ceremony since 1996, said it would not broadcast the show in 2022 and wants to see "meaningful reform".

    WarnerMedia, Netflix and Amazon Studios have already refused to participate in HFPA-related events.

    The Golden Globes are second only to the Oscars in terms of profile.

    The HFPA, whose members vote on the awards presented at the Golden Globes, has faced months of criticism stemming from a Los Angeles Times report back in February that revealed it had not had a single black member for 20 years.

    Scarlett Johansson joins Golden Globes backlash Golden Globe award organisers expel former boss Golden Globes make diversity pledge after backlash The non-profit last week put forward a plan for inclusion and reform. Time's Up, a leading advocate for industry reform, slammed the proposal as "window-dressing platitudes".

    "Any organization or sponsors that set themselves up to pass judgment on our vibrant community of creators and talent must do better," said Time's Up president Tina Tchen.

    Joining the chorus of outrage on Monday was actor Tom Cruise, who returned to the HFPA three Golden Globes he has won over the years, including two Best Actor statuettes for Jerry Maguire and Born on the Fourth of July. slot

    Hollywood has faced repeated criticism over its lack of inclusion.

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  • The US has authorised the Pfizer vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds amid a push to get the shot into more Americans' arms.

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it was "a significant step in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic".

    FDA Commissioner Dr Janet Woodcock said the move was aimed at "bringing us close to returning to a sense of normalcy and to ending the pandemic".

    Some 260 million doses have been given in the US, but demand has been falling.

    Ms Woodcock added in her statement: "Parents and guardians can rest assured that the agency undertook a rigorous and thorough review of all available data, as we have with all of our Covid-19 vaccine emergency use authorisations."

    Successful trial Monday's announcement expands an emergency use authorisation that already allowed the Pfizer jab to be administered to people as young as 16 in the US.

    What is the risk of schools spreading coronavirus? The decision follows a clinical trial by Pfizer and BioNTech involving 2,260 children aged 12-15. The participants received either two doses of the vaccine, or a placebo.

    There were 18 cases of symptomatic coronavirus infection in the placebo group and none among the children who received the vaccine, found the trial.

    The FDA's seal of approval is not the final regulatory hurdle. An advisory panel of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will review the data soon.

    Immunisations could begin straight away if, as expected, the CDC committee approves the vaccine's use in adolescents.

    Some of New York and Oregon's biggest universities have meanwhile joined a growing number of higher education institutions requiring students and staff to have Covid-19 vaccinations before they can return to classes this autumn.

    The rules were announced on Monday by State University of New York, the City University of New York, the University of Oregon and Western Oregon University.

    Last week, US President Joe Biden announced a plan to get at least one dose of vaccine administered to 70% of the nation's population by 4 July.

    Mask mandates are being loosened across the country, and most states have reopened their economies, or are doing so within the next month.

    But dwindling demand for the shot has been prompting states across the country to refuse their full allocation of doses from the federal government.

    Wisconsin, Iowa, Connecticut, South Carolina, North Carolina and Washington are all among states that reduced their requests. pg slot

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