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Photo: Xinhua/Han Fang via Getty Images

The FBI says it will now notify state officials about any attempts to hack their election systems, even when those breaches only affect one county, NBC News reports.

Why it matters: The FBI has traditionally only notified the direct victims of cyber breaches, which in this case would be counties since that's who administers U.S. elections. An FBI official told reporters that "traditional policy did not work in the election context," per NBC.

  • Only notifying localities "may leave the state officials with incomplete knowledge of the threats," the officials said.

Context: In Florida's 2018 Senate race, then-Sen. Bill Nelson claimed Russia had penetrated the state's voting systems, an allegation reportedly based on classified intelligence. His Republican challenger, then-Gov. Rick Scott, accused him of lying because state officials had no knowledge of the incident.

  • Special counsel Robert Mueller later revealed that Russian hackers had indeed penetrated a voter registration network in a Florida county.
  • FBI officials wouldn't confirm if this episode was a catalyst for the new policy, instead claiming that they "learned from a number of different experiences," according to NBC.

Go deeper: Russia has already won the fight to undermine U.S. elections

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
1 hour ago - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.

3 hours ago - Health

Beware a Thanksgiving mirage

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Don't be surprised if COVID metrics plunge over the next few days, only to spike next week.

Why it matters: The COVID Tracking Project warns of a "double-weekend pattern" on Thanksgiving — where the usual weekend backlog of data is tacked on to a holiday.

Trump pardons Michael Flynn

President Trump with Michael Flynn in 2016. Photo: David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images

President Trump on Wednesday pardoned his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty in the Mueller investigation to lying to FBI agents about his conversations with a former Russian ambassador.

Why it matters: It is the first of multiple pardons expected in the coming weeks, as Axios scooped Tuesday night.