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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

The U.S. "disrupted a concerted effort to undermine the midterm elections" in 2018, writes NSA Director and head of U.S. Cyber Command Paul Nakasone, along with senior Cyber Command adviser Michael Sulmeyer, in Foreign Affairs.

Why it matters: Nakasone and Sulmeyer reveal that lessons from those incidents are being used to protect November's election from foreign interference.

  • Experts at the NSA and Cyber Command "formed the Russia Small Group (RSG), a task force created to ensure that democratic processes were executed unfettered by Russian activity."
  • "It shared indicators of potential compromise, enabling DHS to harden the security of election infrastructure."
  • "It also shared threat indicators with the FBI to bolster that organization’s efforts to counter foreign trolls on social media platforms."

Go deeper

Acting DHS chief: "No indications" of foreign interference in voting

Photo: Greg Nash-Pool via Getty

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said on Tuesday there is no evidence so far that a “foreign actor” compromised votes in the 2020 election, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Since Russians interfered with the 2016 election and hacked the emails of Democratic officials, the country has been antsy about a potential repeat in an already closely contested election.

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.

Updated 3 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 Omicron variant cases identified in Europe, U.K.

People wearing masks walk in London on Nov. 25. Photo: Li Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images

Health officials in the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany announced on Saturday that they've detected the first known cases of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The discoveries come as the world scrambles to respond to concerns over the new variant, discovered in South Africa earlier this week.