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Photo: Joshua Lott/AFP/Getty Images

In Kansas, Finney County had to shut down its election network and its entire county computer network after a malware attack launched via a phishing email with a bad link, two county officials told Axios following Vice President Mike Pence's remarks on the incident last week.

Why it matters: This complete shutdown shows the disruptive power that a single email with a bad attachment or link can have, even if only one person clicks on it and even if the malware doesn’t lead to any stolen information. And Finney County doesn’t think its the only target of this kind of phishing and malware attack.

The big picture: Other agencies have said they experienced similar email targeting before the Kansas attack, Finney County communication specialist Sara McClure told Axios.

The impact: The malware versions that are believed to be launched in this case, Emotet and TrickBot, are designed to pilfer information.

  • “To date there are no indications that any citizen’s personal information was impacted nor any evidence that the malware has spread to other networks,” a DHS official told Axios.
  • This kind of attack could interrupt voting if it were to happen closer to, or on the day of, an election.

The county shut off the networks on July 12 to prevent employee access to internet and email, and began cleaning computers in part to get rid of the malware, whether devices were believed to be infected or not. The networks were back up the next day.

  • Finney County has since increased and enhanced its antivirus package, which originally caught the incident. It now has mandated training on clicking links and attachments in emails, and has increased email security to quarantine attachments that may be unexpected or suspicious.

Details:

  • The email that launched the malware came from what appeared to be a real person, but someone who was outside the Finney network, according to McClure. The county does not know the source of the email and was unable to say who clicked on the link.
  • Kansas' secretary of state’s office called in the Department of Homeland Security to work with the county in its response. A DHS official said there is no evidence the issue had spread.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
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  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

NRA declares bankruptcy, says it will reincorporate in Texas

Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association (NRA) speaks during CPAC in 2016. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The National Rifle Association said Friday it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will seek to reincorporate in Texas, calling New York, where it is currently registered, a "toxic political environment."

The big picture: The move comes just months after New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit to dissolve the NRA, alleging the group committed fraud by diverting roughly $64 million in charitable donations over three years to support reckless spending by its executives.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden: "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution

Joe Biden. Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden promised to invoke the Defense Production Act to increase vaccine manufacturing, as he outlined a five-point plan to administer 100 million COVID-19 vaccinations in the first months of his presidency.

Why it matters: With the Center for Disease Control and Prevention warning of a more contagious variant of the coronavirus, Biden is trying to establish how he’ll approach the pandemic differently than President Trump.