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A customer tries out a new Apple iPhone 6S at an Apple store in Chicago. Photo: Kiichiro Sato / AP

Slovak and Czech researchers have found a vulnerability that leaves government and corporate encryption cards vulnerable to hackers to impersonate key owners, inject malicious code into digitally signed software, and decrypt sensitive data, Dan Goodin reports for ArsTechnica. The researchers exposed that some of these keys can be easily hacked, which is notable since it was previously thought that these kinds of keys were virtually impervious to hackers.

Why it matters, from Axios' Senior Developer Chris Barna: Although breaking these keys could take a lot of time and money, "when you have the resources of a malicious government, 17 days and hundreds of thousands of dollars can be worth it if the perceived payoff is big enough."

What to watch for, as Graham Steel, CEO of encryption consultancy Cryptosense, told ArsTechnica: "If you have a document digitally signed with someone's private key, you can't prove it was really them who signed it. Or if you sent sensitive data encrypted under someone's public key, you can't be sure that only they can read it."

Go deeper

Symone Sanders leaving VP's office

Vice President Kamala Harris and her press secretary Symone Sanders. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Symone Sanders, senior advisor and chief spokesperson to Vice President Kamala Harris, is leaving the VP’s office by the end of this year, three White House officials told Axios on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The VP has faced an onslaught of criticism in her first year centered on her leadership and staff, adding to the suggestion, she’s not the Democratic Party’s preferred nominee for 2024.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Updated 2 hours ago - Health

Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The travel bans and border closures prompted by the Omicron variant likely won't fully prevent its spread, but that won't stop countries from leaning on the measures.

Why it matters: The rapid speed at which countries turned to travel bans with the emergence of Omicron indicates border controls will increasingly become a weapon against infectious disease — whether or not public health experts agree they are effective.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP fights itself on shutdown politics

Reporters question Senate Minority Whip John Thune before the Republican Party's weekly lunch on Tuesday. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

GOP leaders on Capitol Hill are scrambling to reach a deal with a bloc of 15 Senate Republicans threatening a government shutdown to force a fight over the Biden administration's vaccine mandates.

Why it matters: The push to defund the mandates — by holding the short-term government funding bill hostageis largely symbolic, and highly controversial within the Republican Party. A shutdown as early as midnight Friday could trigger everything from national park closures to delays in receiving Social Security checks.