Tech Digest daily round up: Ransomware cyber attack on US fuel pipeline


The US government issued emergency legislation on Sunday after the largest fuel pipeline in the US was hit by a ransomware cyber-attack. The Colonial Pipeline carries 2.5 million barrels a day which is 45% of the East Coast’s supply of diesel, gasoline and jet fuel. It was completely knocked offline by a cyber-criminal gang on Friday and is still working to restore service. The emergency status relaxes rules on fuel being transported by road. It means drivers in 18 states can work extra or more flexible hours when transporting gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other refined petroleum products. BBC

Bees may not be known for their acute sense of smell. However, research suggests the flying insects could sniff out coronavirus. With social distancing due to end in the UK by 21 June, officials and scientists alike are eager to identify coronavirus cases before they develop into an outbreak. Like other diseases, coronavirus brings about abnormal chemical reactions within the body that produce a distinct smell, which cannot be detected by humans. Perhaps surprisingly, scientists from the start-up InsectSense and Wageningen Bioveterinary Research in the Netherlands have trained bees to stick out their tongue when they pick up on the infection’s unique odour. Yahoo! 

Elon Musk has announced that SpaceX will launch a mission next year that will be paid for with the cryptocurrency dogecoin. The SpaceX boss said the satellite Doge-1 would be the “first crypto in space” and the “first meme in space”. The announcement, which he made on Twitter late on Sunday, caused the price of dogecoin to immediately surge by more than 30 per cent. It had previously crashed from an all-time high on Saturday, which it reached after Mr Musk referenced dogecoin during his appearance on Saturday Night Live, describing it as a “hustle”. Earlier this year, Mr Musk said he would put “a literal dogecoin on the literal moon”, which also caused the price to briefly shoot up. Independent 

Her voice is instantly recognisable to millions of TikTok users, but until recently, Beverly Standing had no idea she was part of the app. Ms Standing, a professional voice actor in Ontario, Canada, is better known as the “voice of TikTok”, the computer-generated speech that narrates thousands of videos on the app. Since launching in late 2020, TikTok’s text-to-speech feature has become one of its most viral features, giving the effect of having a virtual assistant like Siri narrating a user’s videos. But Ms Standing, whose recordings made for a different company in 2018 were used to build the feature, says she never gave permission for her voice to be used. Telegraph 

Amazon prevented more than ten billion fraudulent product listings from appearing in its online stores in 2020 and seized more than two million counterfeit products, according to a new report. The online giant’s latest brand protection report said its verification processes also stopped more than six million attempts to create selling accounts because they were deemed suspicious. As the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown measures kept people at home, millions turned to online shopping – often for the first time – and concerns were raised over scammers looking to capitalise on the increased opportunity for fraud. In response, Amazon said it invested more than 700 million dollars (£501 million) to protect its stores from fraud and abuse in 2020 and employed more than 10,000 people to oversee the protection effort. Yahoo!

Chris Price
For latest tech stories go to