This is not the Cyber Monday we asked for…


Monday, May 15, 2017
Hug your computer tight, because it survived a huge cyerbattack over the weekend. Here are the 5 things you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door.

By AJ Willingham

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1. Cyberattack

A massive cyberattack has hit more than 200,000 computers in 150 countries, spreading a virus that has crippled the systems of banks, hospitals and other institutions around the world. Yes, it’s that serious, and experts expect more damage when people fire up their computers for the work week.

In plain terms, a group of unknown hackers launched a ransomware virus known as “WannaCry.” The virus locks a computer’s information until the victim pays a certain amount of money (hence the “ransom” in ransomware). The virus exploits a weakness in computers with Microsoft Windows and is primarily targeted at businesses, where a network of connected computers can all be taken down in one fell swoop. Still, if you’re a Windows user, it’s probably best to make sure your version of Windows is updated and, as always, avoid clicking on any suspicious links. 

2. White House 

The aftershocks of FBI director James Comey’s firing continue to rattle the Beltway crowd. Yesterday, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told CNN the country’s institutions “are under assault both externally… and internally.” That’s a fairly serious rebuke from on high. 

Meanwhile, there are still some big, FBI director-sized shoes to fill. At least eight candidates filed into the Justice Department hoping to replace James Comey. President Trump has said he wants a new director in place as soon as possible. But Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says the Senate should refuse to confirm anyone until a special counsel is appointed to look into the Russia-Trump campaign allegations.

3. North Korea 

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: North Korea has tested another missile. This one, state media said, is capable of carrying a large nuclear warhead and could reach the “US mainland and Pacific operations.”

While the test yesterday was an obvious provocation for the US, it also embarrassed China, a North Korean ally, at a delicate diplomatic time. At the time of the test, China was opening the Belt and Road Forum, a major international trade conference. Also in attendance? Russian President Vladimir Putin, who surely was not pleased with a North Korean missile being tested so close to his country. 

4. Germany 

The party of German Chancellor Angela Merkel got a boost during a local election over the weekend. Her Christian Democratic Union won the vote in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The victory was an upset, because the region is the home of the Social Democratic Party’s leader.

Why do we care? The election is one of several precursors to the national federal election in September. That’s when Germans will elect members of the Bundestag, which is kind of like the US House of Representatives. Last year, Merkel announced she would be running for a fourth term as Chancellor

5. Ebola

Three people have died from an Ebola outbreak in a remote northern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. If you’ll recall, an outbreak of the virus ravaged West Africa in 2014, claiming more than 11,000 lives. So far, officials don’t know the scope of this new outbreak, so it’s too early to issue travel restrictions or other warnings. 

Breakfast Browse

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Oh, hello health anxiety
‘Emma’ and ‘Noah’ top the list of 2016’s most popular baby names
Say a prayer for their preschool teachers in a few years
Big candy companies are pledging to cut portions and calories 
Frankly, it’s easier to stress eat the small ones. Challenge accepted

And finally …

Do you ever feel like an extremely tiny horse chasing an extremely big ball?
It’s equal parts frustrating and cute. (Click to view)
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