Ransomware Attacks on the Rise!

Earlier this week, JBS a global meatpacking company was the latest large corporation hit by a ransomware attack.  According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, “The attack is the latest in a growing number to hit a range of businesses and institutions, including hospitals, the oil industry and local water suppliers. At JBS, the attack halted operations at meat plants that are among the largest in the U.S., according to worker representatives and notices shared with JBS employees. JBS facilities in Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Nebraska and Texas were among those affected.” These activities seem to be ramping up in frequency. Yesterday, a ransomware attack disrupted ferry services in Massachusetts. New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority also revealed Wednesday that it had been hacked in April, although the attack didn’t disrupt operations, including the city’s subway system. As these attacks seem to target highly impactful infrastructure, it is important to remember to be on high alert for suspicious activities. Read More

Winter Weather Outlook in a La Nina

Earlier this month the Nation Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released their winter outlook for this upcoming season. According to Weather.com, “La Niña is the periodic cooling of the equatorial eastern and central Pacific ocean. When sea-surface temperatures are cooler than average by at least 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit (0.5 degrees Celsius), along with consistent atmospheric indications for at least three consecutive months, La Niña is considered to be present…This is important because the interaction of this cooler-than-average water with the atmosphere can affect weather conditions thousands of miles away in the U.S. and around the world.”

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Renewable Energy Snatches Market Share

COVID-19 has hammered global energy markets, but renewable energy is taking the opportunity to capture a new record share of electricity generation. Energy producers everywhere have been hit hard by the enormous drop in electricity demand, but renewable energy has managed the declines the best, in part due to their lack of variable costs. Coal and natural gas tend to be pushed out of the market first due to operating costs, opening the door for renewables and potentially leading to the expediting of a transition from fossil fuels to renewables.

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The Other Community Spread

Companies far and wide are doing what they can in support of the global citizen by retooling their factories and supply chains. Auto manufactures, distilleries, home product companies, and others are all stopping production of their standard business products and shifting their expertise towards making items like masks, sanitizer, and respirators.

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Libya’s Oil Export Problems

Libya is an OPEC member nation in Africa, according to their information on OPEC’s website, “Libya is the 16th largest country in the world in terms of land mass, comprising around 1,760 thousand square kilometres. More than a quarter of the country’s six million plus inhabitants live in its capital city, Tripoli. Arabic is the main language. Apart from petroleum, Libya’s other natural resources are natural gas and gypsum. Its economy depends primarily on the oil sector, which represents about 69 per cent of export earnings. Moreover, the oil and gas sector accounts for about 60 per cent of total GDP.” Unfortunately, Libya is in the middle of civil war, starting in 2011 with the fall of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. The fight is between the United Nations-backed government seated in Tripoli and the Libyan National Army based in the eastern portions of the country, and unfortunately that leaves Libya’s National Oil Company sitting in the middle trying to remain a neutral party.

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Local Gains on Foreign Pains

For those of you who may not remember, in 2015 auto giant Volkswagen AG was found guilty of intentionally installing sensors to “cheat” or “pass” the Clean Air Act emissions tests. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports, complicit companies had to pay settlement monies out of over 10 billion dollars. Those dollars went in two directions, the first went to pay to remove all of the non-compliant from the road and the second went to produce green alternatives.

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