A Chinese espionage group appears to have hacked 10 international cellphone providers to track calling data on 20 dissidents, military officials, spies and law enforcement agents, according to a report from the cybersecurity firm Cybereason reported on in the Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters: Though we don't have any details on who the victims are or exactly why they were targeted, China could potentially use tracked phone records to tell if a highly placed individual was another country's intelligence asset or follow the movements of an activist.

Details: The campaign, which Cybereason has dubbed "Operation Soft Cell," did not appear to have targeted any U.S. carriers.

  • Cybereason believes this to be the work of a group known as APT10 due to the hackers following that group's playbook and using the same tools as the group has in the past.
  • While APT10 — also known as Cloud Hopper — had an overwhelming amount of access to carrier networks, the goal appears to have been to steal data.

Context: Cybereason became aware of the campaign in 2018, when it helped a carrier fend off multiple waves of hacking from the group.

  • China is no stranger to monitoring communications providers to harvest details on individuals it sees as a risk. In 2010, the country is believed to have hacked Google to monitor the activity of human rights activists on the platform.

Go deeper: Cracking a Chinese spy case

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Why it matters: The culture war that engulfed the NBA and NFL is reaching other major leagues, with teams that stonewalled activists for years suddenly showing a willingness to listen.

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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 11,520,461 — Total deaths: 535,453 — Total recoveries — 6,231,052Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 2,911,888 — Total deaths: 130,090 — Total recoveries: 906,763 — Total tested: 35,512,916Map.
  3. Public health: Case growth outpacing testing in hotspots.
  4. States: West Virginia becomes latest state to mandate facial coverings in public.
  5. Politics: Cuomo accuses Trump of "enabling" the coronavirus surge — Sen. Chuck Grassley opts out of attending GOP convention over coronavirus concerns.