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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Security experts, businesses and government agencies are continuing their work to understand the scope of a massive cyber attack, while the finger-pointing and blame game is also picking up steam.

The big picture: Experts warn the attack could have severe repercussions given it went on for months, targeted key companies and government agencies and gained access to a wide swath of substantive information.

Catch up quick: The attack, attributed to Russia, began with the targeting of security firm SolarWinds. Gaining access there allowed the nation-state hackers access to information from a variety of high-profile agencies and companies, including the Treasury, Commerce and Homeland Security departments.

What's new:

  • Sen. Richard Blumenthal, after receiving a classified briefing, placed the blame squarely on Russia and called for more information to be made public.
  • Microsoft and other companies seized a domain that was used in the attack, hoping to limit further damage.
  • The Washington Post reported Tuesday that key investors in SolarWinds sold $280 million in the company's stock in the days before the attack was announced publicly.

What's next: Alex Stamos, director of the Stanford Internet Observatory, wrote in the Washington Post that the attack shows "something is wrong with how our country protects itself against the hackers working for our adversaries in Russia, China, Iran and North Korea."

  • Stamos suggested the government could improve cyber response by creating an agency to investigate serious incidents; passing a data breach law that would make it mandatory to disclose more types of incidents; and ensuring key Biden administration roles are filled by people with "practical, hands-on defensive experience."

Go deeper: What we know about Russia's sprawling hack into federal agencies

Go deeper

Jan 26, 2021 - World

Biden holds first phone call with Putin, raises Navalny arrest

Putin takes a call in 2017. Photo: Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty

President Biden on Tuesday held his first call since taking office with Vladimir Putin, pressing the Russian president on the arrest of opposition leader Alexey Navalny and the Russia-linked hack on U.S. government agencies.

The state of play: Biden also raised arms control, bounties allegedly placed on U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the war in Ukraine, according to a White House readout. The statement said Biden and Putin agreed maintain "consistent communication," and that Biden stressed the U.S. would "act firmly in defense of its national interests in response to actions by Russia that harm us or our allies."

Ina Fried, author of Login
51 mins ago - Technology
Column / Signal Boost

Exclusive: Meta's civil rights chief aims to "turn the knob" for good

Photo Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: Meta

A year ago, Facebook brought in Roy Austin, Jr. to lead a new team focused on civil rights. Since then, he has assembled a squad of experts advising parent company Meta on everything from voting rights to hate speech to ensuring new products don't have discriminatory impact.

The big picture: Austin's team of nine must tackle those tough issues inside a company of nearly 70,000 employees serving more than 3 billion users around the world.

Momentum builds for salary transparency

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

New York City will soon require employers to supply a salary range when they're advertising a position — the biggest step yet in the growing but controversial movement for pay transparency.

Why it matters: Laws like New York's aim to give workers, particularly women and people of color, more power in job negotiations. But the rise in remote work is throwing a wrench into the effort.