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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

Senate Democrats reach deal on extending unemployment insurance

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Democrats struck a deal Friday evening to extend unemployment insurance in President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package after deliberating and halting other action for roughly nine hours, per a Senate aide.

Why it matters: The Senate can now resume voting on other amendments to the broader rescue bill.

Capitol review panel recommends more police, mobile fencing

Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

A panel appointed by Congress to review security measures at the Capitol is recommending several changes, including mobile fencing and a bigger Capitol police force, to safeguard the area after a riotous mob breached the building on Jan. 6.

Why it matters: Law enforcement officials have warned there could be new plots to attack the area and target lawmakers, including during a speech President Biden is expected to give to a joint session of Congress.

Financial fallout from the Texas deep freeze

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Texas has thawed out after an Arctic freeze last month threw the state into a power crisis. But the financial turmoil from power grid shock is just starting to take shape.

Why it matters: In total, electricity companies are billions of dollars short on the post-storm payments they now owe to the state's grid operator. There's no clear path for how they will pay — something being watched closely across the country as extreme weather events become more common.