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Kaspersky logo. Photo: Jacopo Raule / Getty Images for Kaspersky Lab

Kaspersky Lab’s research exposed an ongoing U.S.-led counterterrorism spying operation, CyberScoop reports. According to current and former U.S. intelligence officials, the operation was focused on ISIS and al-Qaeda.

What happened: Kaspersky announced a malware campaign called “Slingshot," an advanced, persistent threat, indicating it may have state-backing, earlier this month. They said the malware was on thousands of devices in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kenya, Sudan, Somalia, Turkey, and Yemen. Current and former U.S. intel officials told CyberScoop that Slingshot is a program that is run through the Pentagon’s Special Operations Command.

The program tracked information in internet cafés related to ISIS and al-Qaeda as intelligence for the Pentagon.

At stake:

  • The officials told CyberScoop the exposure may put soldiers’ lives at risk, could ruin the surveillance program and risk intel-gathering.
  • For Kaspersky, it highlights its tenuous relationship with the U.S. government — the two are currently in court over whether the software from Kaspersky is a national security threat due to its ties with the Russian government.
    • Last fall DHS mandated all government agencies to remove Kaspersky from its computers for fear Russia was monitoring government communications through it.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.
Bryan Walsh, author of Future
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America is anxious, angry and heavily armed

Data: FBI; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Firearms background checks in the U.S. hit a record high in 2020.

The big picture: This past year took our collective arsenal to new heights, with millions of Americans buying guns for the first time. That trend coincides with a moment of peak political and social tension.

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1 hour ago - Economy & Business

America on borrowed time

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Economic recovery will not be linear as the world continues to grapple with the uncertainty of the pandemic.

Why it matters: Despite being propped up by an extraordinary amount of fiscal stimulus and support from central banks, the state of the global economy remains fragile.