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Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Fancy Bear, a Russian espionage hacking group best known for the 2016 breaches of the Democratic National Committee, is trying to hack email accounts of sports and anti-doping groups, reports Microsoft.

The big picture: As Russia struggles with anti-doping rules, Fancy Bear's targeting of sports groups has become a near-annual event since 2016.

The new campaign began on Sept. 16, according to Microsoft, as new cheating allegations ramped up.

  • Fancy Bear attempted to breach the email accounts of 16 national and international sporting and anti-doping groups.
  • Most attacks failed, though some succeeded.

Background: Fancy Bear is a good example of cyber espionage for reasons of national vanity.

  • While the U.S. was preoccupied with the political hacks in 2016, Fancy Bear is believed to have spearheaded attacks against the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in retaliation for a near-national ban of the Russian Olympic team. Russia had been caught systemically cheating on performance-enhancing drug tests.
  • U.S. intelligence agencies believe that Russia hacked the DNC in 2016 in part due to the WADA ban. Putin blamed the Obama administration for his athletes being caught.
  • Just as Russia interfaced with the public about the DNC hack using a cover persona ("Guccifer 2.0"), Russia interfaced with reporters about the WADA attacks as a Polish affiliate of the hacktivist group Annonymous.
  • During the 2018 Winter Olympics, Fancy Bear is believed to have launched a wide malware campaign dubbed "Olympic Destroyer," designed to pin blame on North Korea. It was a rare period when North Korea would be an unlikely target, as Pyongyang was making every effort to peacefully participate in the South Korean games.

Go deeper

Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers

President Biden speaking from Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Jan. 21. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge in Texas blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal workers on Friday, citing the outcome of last week's Supreme Court ruling that nullified the administration's vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

Why it matters: It's a blow to President Biden's efforts to increase the U.S.' vaccination rates, though much of the federal workforce has already been vaccinated against the virus.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker
Updated 4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Janet Yellen co-opts Reaganomics phrase for new Davos speech

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen at a speech this week. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The U.S. needs to focus on increasing its productive potential, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told world leaders Friday, calling for what she terms "modern supply side economics."

Why it matters: She co-opted a phrase traditionally used by political conservatives to describe low-tax and deregulatory policies — and framed the Biden administration's initiatives as the best path forward to achieve greater national prosperity.