Mysterious New Ransomware Targets Industrial Control Systems ; The Sin Spinners ; and More Picks 2/4

Mysterious New Ransomware Targets Industrial Control Systems (Chris)

The author writes, “Over the last month, researchers at security firms including Sentinel One and Dragos have puzzled over a piece of code called Snake or EKANS, which they now believe is specifically designed to target industrial control systems, the software and hardware used in everything from oil refineries to power grids to manufacturing facilities.”

VIDEO: ‘Troubled Water’ Author Discusses Contamination of US Drinking Water (Chris)

From On Contact: “Chris Hedges talks to author Seth Siegel about … how our drinking water got contaminated, what the US government does and doesn’t regulate, what the contaminants could be doing to us, and what we can do to make our drinking water safe.”

Why You See Online Ads for Stuff You Buy in the Real World (Russ)

The author writes, “Facebook isn’t following you around the mall, but the stores might be.” 

The Sin Spinners (Judy)

From the Columbia Journalism Review: “Salem [Media Group] is … a sophisticated media conglomerate that reaches millions of Americans every day. A multimedia town square populated by velvet-tongued preachers, politicians, and pundits, it exists as much to build a network of conservatives as it does to mobilize them. This is not a group of folksy Ned Flanders types; the savvy of the men — they are almost all men — running Salem is impressive to behold.”

Man Avoids Jail for Scheme to Smuggle Hallucinogenic Toad Venom (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “Toc Truong, 68, was charged … with receiving mislabeled drugs, after federal authorities caught him arranging to receive packages that contained the hallucinogen bufotenin, contained in toad venom. It is a chemical found in certain species of mushrooms, as well as in the seeds of anadenanthera, a plant native to South America. but is best known for being part of certain species of toads. Bufotenin has led to the common myth that someone can hallucinate from licking the back of a toad or a frog, but it is also known to cause fatalities.”