Week in Review (Oct 09th – 13th)

California wildfires

The death toll of people that died in the wildfires that ravage northern California has climbed to 31 victims. This number makes it the deadliest wildfire in California since 1933. Officials warned that the conditions might worsen even further. Forecasters predict that winds will pick up on Friday again that could fan the flames even further. The biggest threat is in Napa Valley where the entire population has been evacuated.

Hundreds of people remain missing and more than 8.000 fire fighters are battling the flames. More than 3.500 buildings and homes have been destroyed so far. Recovery teams with dogs are searching the smouldering ruins of homes. They found bodies that were no more than ash and bone. It is not clear yet what started the fire on Sunday, power lines blown over by strong winds might be responsible for the catastrophe.

The fires have sent smoke and ash over San Francisco, about 500 miles away and even reached cities and towns further south. At least 13 wineries in Napa Valley have been destroyed so far. Cannabis plantations could lose millions as the farmers cannot insure their business since federal law bans drugs. Though the recreational use was legalised in California last year the retail market does not open until 2018.

death toll (deθ təʊl) – die Zahl der Todesopfer
to ravage (ˈrævɪʤ) – etw verwüsten, verheerende Schäden anrichten
to climb (klm) – nach oben klettern
deadly (ˈdedli) – tödlich
condition (kənˈdɪʃən) – der Zustand, Umstand, Bedingung
to fan (fæn) – etw anfachen, zufächeln
entire (ɪnˈtəʳ) – gesamt, vollständig
population (ˌpɒpjəˈlʃən) – die Bevölkerung, Einwohnerschaft
to remain (rɪˈmn) – bleiben
to battle (ˈbæt) – etw/jdn bekämpfen
recovery team (rɪˈkʌvəri ti:m) – Rettungsmannschaft
to smoulder (ˈsməʊldəʳ) – schwelen, glimmen
ash (æʃ) – die Asche
bone (bəʊn) – der Knochen
power line (ˈpəʳ ln) – das Stromkabel, Stromleitung
responsible (rɪˈspɒn(t)səb) – verantwortlich
winery (ˈwnəri) – die Weinkellerei
recreational (ˌrekriˈʃənəspan data-original-title=““>l) – Freizeit – Erholungs –
retail (ˈri:tl) – Einzelhandel

North Korea hacked US server

North Korea hacked servers in the US and targeted electric power companies. They used spearphishing emails. The emails invited people to a fake fund-raiser. Victims who downloaded the invitation also downloaded malware onto their computer. There is no evidence that the hacking was successful. The cyber security company FireEye says that attack could potentially foreshadow a disruptive cyberattack.

The attack is probably due to increasing tensions between the US and North Korea. Cyber security fears for some time now that North Korea could retaliate against further escalations via cyber. Especially an attack against the financial sector would be damaging. However, the electric grid is strong and disruptions would be minor. Phishing emails are not uncommon and electric companies deal with them on a regular basis.

Still, the attack shows initial targeting and there are weaker links. Some under-funded public utilities as well as some private utility companies rely on antiquated equipment. Although North Korea ranks behind Russia, China and Iran regarding their ability to inflict damage via cyberattacks there is a need to step up security. Experts worry that North Korea could try to harm not just one company but the American economy.

to target (ˈtɑ:gɪt) – anvisieren, gezielt angreifen
to invite (ɪnˈvaɪt) – jdn einladen
fake (feɪk) – gefälscht, unecht
fund-raiser (fʌnd-reɪzəʳ) – die Wohltätigkeitsveranstaltung
victim (ˈvɪktɪm) – das Opfer
malware (ˈmælweəʳ) – Malware (Computerprogram mit offener oder verdeckter Schadfunktion)
evidence (ˈevɪdən(t)s) – der Beweis
successful (səkˈsesfəl) – erfolgreich
potentially (pə(ʊ)ˈten(t)ʃəli) – möglicherweise, eventuell
to foreshadow (fɔ:ʳˈʃædəʊ) – durch etw angedeutet werden
disruptive (dɪsˈrʌptɪv) – störend
probably (ˈprɒbəbli) – wahrscheinlich
to increase (ɪnˈkri:s) – ansteigen, zunehmen
tension (ˈten(t)ʃən) – die Spannung
to retaliate (rɪˈtælieɪt) – sich rächen, revanchieren
escalation (ˌeskəˈleɪʃən) – die Eskalation, Steigerung
grid (grɪd) – das Netz, Raster
disruption (dɪsˈrʌpʃən) – die Unterbrechung
minor (ˈmaɪnəʳ) – unbedeutend, geringfügig
weak (wi:k) – schwach
utility (ju:ˈtɪləti) – das Dienstprogram, Versorgungsunternehmen
to rely (rɪˈlaɪ) –sich auf etw verlassen
ability (əˈbɪləti) – die Fähigkeit