Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with the Axios AM and PM newsletters. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to the Axios Closer newsletter for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios Pro Rata

Dive into the world of dealmakers across VC, PE and M&A with Axios Pro Rata. Delivered daily to your inbox by Dan Primack and Kia Kokalitcheva.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with the Axios Sports newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Des Moines newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Tampa Bay newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Austin news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Austin newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Atlanta news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Atlanta newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Philadelphia news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Philadelphia newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Chicago news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Chicago newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top DC news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios DC newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

This year marked a turning point for malicious attacks on computer systems, fueled by a rise in nation-state attacks and ransomware.

Why it matters: Once a worry mostly for IT leaders, the risk of a cyber intrusion is now a top concern for CEOs and world leaders.

Driving the news:

  • May's Colonial Pipeline attack helped drive that message home, as did ransomware attacks on cities and hospitals — emphasizing the very real world impact that cyber attacks can have.
  • Meanwhile, the current Log4j flaw shows just how vulnerable our digital systems are. It's a single piece of open source code, but it is used so broadly and the flaw so fundamental that it potentially opens nearly every business and government to attack.

The big picture: Evidence that cybersecurity has become the big issue abounds. Foreign Affairs devotes the current issue to the topic, while J.P. Morgan International Council identified it as the most significant threat facing businesses and government in a report released Thursday.

Between the lines: One can never permanently "win" the battle against malicious attacks, but it is possible to be losing the fight. 2021 definitely felt like a year in which the attackers had the upper hand.

  • The combination of cryptocurrency and ransomware has proven to be especially tough to fight as it is often in the business interests of a victim to pay up rather than take the risk of data loss or even a business disruption.

The rise in cyberattacks has also made for thorny diplomacy among nation states. With physical attacks, there has been a relatively clear line that acts as a deterrent, even for nations with significant conflicts. But in cyberspace, the division is murkier.

  • “The domain of cyberspace is shaped not by a binary between war and peace but by a spectrum between those two poles—and most cyberattacks fall somewhere in that murky space,” former deputy director of national intelligence Sue Gordon and former Pentagon chief of staff Eric Rosenbach wrote in a Foreign Affairs piece.
  • “In trying to analogize the cyberthreat to the world of physical warfare, policymakers missed the far more insidious danger that cyber-operations pose: how they erode the trust people place in markets, governments and even national power,” argues Hoover Institution’s Jacquelyn Schneider, in another Foreign Affairs article. “Cyberattacks prey on these weak points, sowing distrust in information, creating confusion and anxiety, and exacerbating hatred and misinformation.”

What's next: Leaders are calling for much tighter cooperation between businesses and governments as the key way to fighting back. Also needed, many say, is an international agreement on what is and isn't permissible, in much the way the Geneva Convention sets limits on traditional warfare.

Yes, but: The U.S. government is still woefully short of workers with needed cybersecurity skills.

Go deeper

Updated Jan 14, 2022 - World

Most of Ukraine's government sites back online after "massive" cyberattack

Ukraine's Presidential Office Building in Kyiv in 2019. Photo: Sergei Chuzavkov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

About 90% of Ukrainian government websites that were knocked offline on Friday by a cyberattack of unidentified origins were functioning again, Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian President's Office, said during a Eurasia Center event.

Why it matters: The cyberattack, which Yermak said did not target country's critical infrastructure, came less than a day after key security talks failed to ease tensions between the U.S. and Europe and Russia.

Updated 23 mins ago - Economy & Business

Tax season nightmare ahead for understaffed IRS

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The IRS will start accepting 2021 tax returns in less than a week, and the filing delays and administrative headaches to come might eclipse last year — which was “one of the worst filing seasons," according to an independent advocacy agency within the IRS.

Why it matters: For taxpayers, especially with complex or paper filings, this means headaches, delayed refunds, and mistakes.

China builds its own movie empire

Expand chart
Data: Gower Street citing Comscore; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

China blocked all four of Disney's Marvel movies from being released in its theaters last year, a grim sign for U.S. film giants being squeezed out of the world's fastest-growing box office.

Why it matters: The Chinese Communist Party is using domestic films as a key conduit for mass messaging aimed at achieving political goals, leaving little room for foreign views.