Jimmy Kimmel reacted to the ransomware attack by Russian hackers on the Colonial Pipeline in the south-east US, which incited panic and a run on gasoline that had people hoarding gas in plastic bottles. To get their network back online and stave the crisis, the company reportedly paid $5m in ransom to the hackers.
“Let that be a lesson to all you Russian cyber-thieves: if you mess with America you will get $5m from us,” Kimmel joked.
“The pipeline is back up and running, a gas crisis has been averted at least for the time being, but we do have a shortage of dipping sauce,” he added, as supply chain issues have led Chick-fil-A to limit customers to one dipping packet each. Through conservative Twitter logic, Senator Ted Cruz, of Texas, blamed the shortage on Joe Biden.
Kimmel took issue. “If you’re looking for a president to blame for a dipping sauce shortage, this is your guy,” he said over a photo of Donald Trump’s infamous White House McDonald’s buffet.
On the Daily Show, Trevor Noah also discussed the pipeline cyberattack, which exposes US vulnerability to ransomware attacks that are disconcertingly cheap and relatively easy to execute.
“Thankfully, it’s looking like America will get back to burning as much fossil fuel as it wants,” Noah said of the pipeline’s reopening. “The bigger problem is that America’s vulnerability to ransomware is here to stay.”
Ransomware, Noah explained, is a cyberattack in which hackers threaten to shut down networks or publish private information unless paid a ransom, usually demanded in bitcoin. “Oh man, this is terrible – these hackers aren’t just forcing people to pay money, they’re forcing them to learn about bitcoin,” Noah joked. “That’s the real crime.”
The attacks have a relatively low barrier to entry, with DIY ransomware kits available on the dark web for as little as $39. “That’s like nothing!” said Noah. “Although, to be fair though, that’s probably the version that has ads, right? Like you can shut down America’s infrastructure, but every 10 minutes you have to watch that stupid Emu commercial.”
Hackers have used ransomware to cripple hospitals, local governments, utilities and police departments, and there’s little the federal government can do about it, given that most utility infrastructure in the US is run by private companies and thus not subject to IT disclosures or inspections.
“I get that it’s difficult for the government to regulate the internal security of private companies,” Noah said, “but the solution to ransomware cannot be to put the entire country into airplane mode. I mean, no one even does that on airplanes.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a major milestone in pandemic guidance Thursday: fully vaccinated Americans do not need to wear masks or socially distance in most settings. “I think with this announcement, you’re going to see a lot of smiling faces,” said a jubilant Stephen Colbert on the Late Show. “They may have been smiling before, but now you’re actually going to see them.”
According to Dr Rochelle Walensky, the CDC director, in a press conference: “You can start doing things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic.”
“Ah hell yes, I’m finally going to watch Godzilla vs Kong the way it was meant to be seen: on a plane,” Colbert joked.
If the promise of unmasking wasn’t enough to convince people to get vaccinated, there’s new research showing that Covid may increase the chance of erectile dysfunction. “The study was released in the prestigious New England Journal of ‘Now Will You Wear a Mask, Uncle Gary?’” Colbert joked.
Research found that Covid-19 can remain in penile tissue long after male victims recover from the virus. “In this case, the doctors really mean it when they say ‘the hard part is over’,” Colbert joked.
And on Late Night, Seth Meyers tore into the Republican party’s game-revealing loyalty to the former president. “Republicans have made it very clear that Donald Trump is the leader of their party now and for the foreseeable future, and they’re refusing to move on from the disastrous Trump years,” he said, queueing up clips of stalwart Trump acolytes such as Senators Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz.
In February, Cruz promised a crowd, in the style of a revivalist preacher: “Let me tell you this right now, Donald J Trump ain’t going anywhere.”
“First of all, there’s nothing more grating than Ted Cruz trying to fire up a crowd,” Meyers retorted. “He might actually have negative charisma. He sounds the way hotdog water smells.
“Republicans are obsessed with Trump because they have no central ideology other than hostility toward democracy,” Meyers concluded. “The ‘big lie’ that the election was stolen is their only core belief. And I’m guessing a lot of them don’t even believe it. They just know that Trump does. When I was in college and a girl wanted to read my tarot cards, I definitely acted as though I cared what the page of cups meant.”