The sign on Kaspersky Lab's headquarters in Moscow. Photo: Pavel Golovkin / AP

The head of Russian cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab confirmed that his company's anti-virus software copied hacking tools from the National Security Agency to its servers but promptly deleted them upon learning of their existence, per the AP.

Why it matters: Kaspersky has been suspected of having ties to the Russian government — which the company denies — and it has come under scrutiny since the revelation of Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election, especially given the wide use of its popular anti-virus program in the United States. The U.S. government ordered Kaspersky's software to be removed from government-owned computers last month.

How Kaspersky says it happened: A member of a secret NSA hacking group uploaded the classified surveillance tools to his home computer, which became infected with a virus thanks to a pirated copy of Microsoft Office. Kaspersky's anti-virus program flagged the NSA tools as suspicious in the process — a common feature of anti-virus software — and uploaded them to its own server for analysis.

The big question: Was the incident genuinely an accident or did Kaspersky set its software to seek out such classified information? Kaspersky Lab and its owner, Eugene Kaspersky, denied deliberately searching for classified code, though he stopped short of telling the AP if he'd notified the NSA of his company's find.

Go deeper: The NYT report about Israel discovering Kaspersky's NSA download.

And don't forget: The FBI paid a secretive visit to Kaspersky employees back in June.

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Republican senators defend Fauci as Trump escalates attacks

Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

Several Republican senators defended Anthony Fauci after a string of attacks in recent days from President Trump, who has called the government's top infectious-disease expert "a disaster" and falsely claimed that he's a Democrat.

Why it matters: As polls indicate warning signs for both Trump and down-ballot Republicans, more GOP leaders are urging the president to stop downplaying the pandemic and to listen to advice from public health experts. Fauci is one of the most trusted voice in the country on coronavirus issues.

Senate to vote on Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation on Oct. 26

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the Capitol on Oct. 20. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The Senate will vote to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court next Monday, Oct. 26, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced Tuesday.

The big picture: The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote this Thursday to advance Barrett's nomination to the full Senate floor. Democrats have acknowledged that there's nothing procedurally they can do to stop Barrett's confirmation, which will take place just one week out from Election Day.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Americans feel Trump's sickness makes him harder to trustFlorida breaks record for in-person early voting.
  2. Health: The next wave is gaining steam.
  3. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots.
  4. World: Ireland moving back into lockdown — Argentina becomes 5th country to report 1 million infections.

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