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DHS cybersecurity chief Jeanette Manfra at the White House in December. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

For the first time, the Department of Homeland Security is including a social media simulator in its annual exercise that simulates how the United States and the international community respond to a global cyber attack, Jeanette Manfra, the head of cybersecurity at DHS, told Axios at the exercise's kickoff at U.S. Secret Service's headquarters this morning.

How it works: The social media simulator is intended to replicate how people respond to news of a cyber attack, including simulations of tweets and news articles online, Manfra said. She would not discuss whether the exercise simulates the way bots have been increasingly impacting the way news spreads on Twitter.

The exercise: It’s been happening biannually since 2006 in an effort to understand how actors respond when critical infrastructure is attacked. This year the exercise includes DHS, law enforcement, and participants from the manufacturing, IT, and communications sectors, Manfra said during a press briefing.

  • This year, there are more than 1,000 participants "playing" worldwide, including the International Watch and Warning Network, which is made up of 15 countries that have agreed to share cyber threat information in the case of an international cyber crisis.
  • Manfra told Axios that the states participating in the exercise include Colorado, Delaware, Iowa, Montana, Texas, Washington, and Virginia. In the larger briefing, Manfra did not tell reporters whether voting systems were involved in the simulation this year, and instead pointed to the individual states involved.

Go deeper

Biden's centrist words, liberal actions

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Biden talks like a soothing centrist. He promises to govern like a soothing centrist. But early moves show that he is keeping his promise to advance a liberal agenda.

Why it matters: Never before has a president done more by executive fiat in such a short period of time than Biden. And those specific actions, coupled with a push for a more progressive slate of regulators and advisers, look more like the Biden of the Democratic primary than the unity-and-restraint Biden of the general election.

10 mins ago - Technology

Review of Trump ban marks major turning point for Facebook

Photo Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Facebook's decision to ask its new independent Oversight Board to review the company's indefinite suspension of former President Trump is likely to set a critical precedent for how the social media giant handles political speech from world leaders.

What they're saying: "I very much hope and can expect … that they will uphold our decision," Facebook's VP of global affairs Nick Clegg tells Axios.

Updated 19 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden to attempt "emergency economic relief" by executive order

President Biden. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

President Biden will continue his executive action blitz on Friday, issuing two more orders in an attempt to provide immediate relief to struggling families without waiting for Congress.

Why it matters: In his second full day in office, Biden is again resorting to executive actions as he tries to increase payments for nutritional assistance and protect workers' rights during the pandemic.

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