Tanya Tagaq’s music isn’t for everyone, but that’s not the point. Tagaq is an Inuit throat singer, keeper of an ancient art form, who has brought the traditional sound screeching onto the international scene by layering it with elements of punk rock, heavy metal and electronica.
Hailing from Nunavut, a territory in Canada’s Arctic, Tagaq once attended residential school, where the Canadian government sent indigenous children to assimilate to Western culture and where Inuit languages and traditions were all but banned. She taught herself to throat sing in her 20s, and her performances now serve as celebrations of Inuit culture as well as acts of resistance against a government that tried to wipe out her culture.
Those performances have also made her a pop star. She is on perpetual tour of the world’s concert halls; critics have heaped praise on her mash-up of Inuit tradition and contemporary experiment. Jon Wertheim profiles Tagaq for the next edition of 60 MINUTES Sunday, May 5 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Tagaq begins each performance with a warning for her audience that they may not like what they’re about to hear. At times, she goes so far as to tell her audience it’s OK to leave. “Because I feel like it should be consensual. Like you shouldn’t have to sit there and suffer through it if you don’t like it,” she tells Wertheim.
60 MINUTES traveled high above the Arctic Circle to Tagaq’s hometown of Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. There, she demonstrates the traditional form of Inuit throat singing and tells Wertheim it’s really a friendly competition between two women. Born in an igloo while the men were out hunting, it is a call-and-response game Inuit women invented 1000 years ago to pass the time. On stage, Tagaq herself performs a solo version, singing both the call and response parts; every performance is improvised, so no two shows are alike. “The music. I get kind of hypnotized by it. And it just becomes its own creature.”
Victims are usually in middle age, but some have been in their 30s when they were afflicted with frontotemporal dementia, or FTD, a devastating form of dementia. People with FTD either lose their personality to the degree their own families can’t recognize them anymore, or they lose their ability to recognize themselves, in a cruel twist to a disease that’s always fatal. Bill Whitaker reports on this little-known form of dementia that steals personalities from people in their prime years and inflicts huge burdens on their families, on the next edition of 60 MINUTES Sunday, May 5 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
FTD robs people of their personality, judgment and empathy, and sometimes their speech. 57-year-old Thomas Cox lost interest in his family and job a few years ago and subsequently was fired. He knows he has FTD, but is unaware of its effect on him and his family; he spends much of his time looking at pictures on his cell phone and seems capable of doing little else. “I can blame the disease. I can say that the disease stole my husband,” says his wife, Lori.
Dr. Bruce Miller is a leading researcher of FTD and is working hard to find a cure or therapy for the devastating disease. Whitaker met Cox at Miller’s lab. “This is as profound as anything that can happen to a human being. It robs us of our very essence of our humanity, of who we are,” Miller says. He’s studying Cox and others, some of whom can exhibit dangerous or impulsive behavior, like Mark Johnson, whose family found it necessary to put him in an assisted living facility at the age of 39.
Amy Johnson, his wife, tells Whitaker at first her husband became indifferent and could no longer watch their children or hold his job. He also displayed impulsive and compulsive behavior. “He couldn't stop eating. I started locking the food up…I took his credit card. He’d walk down to the grocery store and steal food,” says Amy. A healthcare worker helped her make the decision to move him out of the house. “Because now when he thinks of something, the part of his brain that tells him ‘that’s a bad idea’ doesn’t work anymore.” Amy must use savings that Mark intended for their retirement to pay the thousands of dollars a month it costs to care for him in the facility where he now lives.
Neither Cox nor Johnson has any real sense that something is wrong with them. But in the other variant of FTD that Miller is studying, the loss of speech and communication, victims can be aware of what is happening. The Very Rev. Tracey Lind, 61, was dean of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Cleveland for many years before she began to have difficulty recognizing congregants and finding the right word in her sermons. Then she had an episode that stunned her. “I was washing my hands, and I looked in the mirror, and I did not recognize my own face.”
The news has been hard on Lind and her spouse, Emily Ingalls, whose caregiver burden will only grow over time. In the meantime, they make appearances to raise awareness for dementia and educate its victims and their families. It’s Lind’s new ministry. “I’m going to face this disease called FTD that I’d never heard of before, and I’m going to see what I can do with it,” she tells Whitaker.
RANSOMWARE – It is an increasingly common and lucrative cybercrime: governments, hospitals and businesses have their data held hostage by crooks seeking a payoff. They’re using a type of malware called ransomware. The FBI tells Scott Pelley the criminals could come for phones next. Henry Schuster is the producer.
FRONTOTEMPORAL DEMENTIA – FTD, a little-known but devastating disease that robs people of their personalities or their ability to communicate before it kills them, usually hits in middle age, but can affect people in their 30s. Bill Whitaker reports. Rome Hartman and Sara Kuzmarov are the producers.
POLAR PUNK – Tanya Tagaq combines traditional Inuit throat singing with rock, punk and heavy metal to create an original art form that is decidedly not mainstream. Jon Wertheim reports on this performer from the Canadian Arctic. Nathalie Sommer is the producer.
Steve Long never thought it would happen to his hospital. The CEO had only read about organizations’ data held for ransom by cyber criminals. Now his hospital’s data was held hostage too – frozen so no one could access it. Soon, this could happen to anyone connected to the internet, says the head of the FBI’s cybercrime unit, especially in a world where he says 50 billion devices will be connected to the internet by next year. Scott Pelley explores an increasingly common form of crime known as ransomware that is lucrative and nearly impossible to root out on the next edition of 60 MINUTES, Sunday, May 5 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Long is the CEO of Hancock Regional Hospital, a 100-bed facility outside Indianapolis. He was awakened one night in January 2018 to learn it was Hancock’s turn. “It’s something I read in the journals…and I say ‘I’m glad that’s not going to happen to us’…[but] they had encrypted every file we had on our computers and on the network.”
Long says he was given a week to pay a $55,000 ransom for the decryption keys to rescue his hospital’s data from the computer virus that held it. “Our only choice was to wipe the system and hope that we had backups or purchase the decryption keys.” But his backups were infected – and with the care of his patients as his top priority, Long felt he had no choice but to pay.
Governments and hospitals are vulnerable targets, says Mike Christman, who until a recent promotion ran the FBI’s cybercrime unit. But not just companies and governments, he says. “I think everyone should expect to be attacked,” Christman tells Pelley. Nobody, including the FBI, knows how many businesses are attacked by ransomware or how many pay up, since most don’t report the attacks.
It is surprisingly easy to get the tools needed to commit these crimes, says Tom Pace, vice president of Blackberry-Cylance, a leading security firm. Ransomware, the malware used by the cybercriminals, can be rented online from websites on the dark web that not only maintain the malware’s architecture but also provide a chat room to answer criminals’ questions. It also gets a commission if the victim pays. Pace demonstrates for Pelley how he can go to the site and encrypt a file of his own in just over five minutes. “Off the shelf. Ready to go,” he says.
Central to the success of the malware ransom is the fact that perpetrators don’t ask for too much money. “Everybody doesn’t have millions to pay, right? So finding the sweet spot and sticking to it has worked well,” Pace tells Pelley. The $55,000 Hancock paid seems to be a common figure. A small town in Alabama and the city of Atlanta were asked to pay similar amounts when their data was held. The small town, Leeds, was able to bargain it down to $8,000; Atlanta refused to pay and spent $20 million recovering from the attack and upgrading its systems, but not without losing some significant data.
“Cybercrime has really become a way of life and connected to everything we do…by 2020, we expect to see 50 billion devices worldwide connected to the internet,” says Christman. Asked by Pelley how long before ransomware comes to our phones, he replies, “I think it’s already on the doorstep for that.”