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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

Tech scrambles to derail inauguration threats

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tech companies are sharing more information with law enforcement in a frantic effort to prevent violence around the inauguration, after the government was caught flat-footed by the Capitol siege.

Between the lines: Tech knows it will be held accountable for any further violence that turns out to have been planned online if it doesn't act to stop it.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
3 mins ago - Economy & Business

First glimpse of the Biden market

Photo: Jonathan Ernst-Pool/Getty Images

Investors made clear what companies they think will be winners and which will be losers in President Joe Biden's economy on Wednesday, selling out of gun makers, pot purveyors, private prison operators and payday lenders, and buying up gambling, gaming, beer stocks and Big Tech.

What happened: Private prison operator CoreCivic and private prison REIT Geo fell by 7.8% and 4.1%, respectively, while marijuana ETF MJ dropped 2% and payday lenders World Acceptance and EZCorp each fell by more than 1%.

Mike Allen, author of AM
35 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden-Harris, Day 1: What mattered most

President Joe Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden arrive at the North Portico of the White House. Photo: Alex Brandon-Pool/Getty Images

The Axios experts help you sort significance from symbolism. Here are the six Day 1 actions by President Biden that matter most.

Driving the news: Today, on his first full day, Biden translates his promise of a stronger federal response to the pandemic into action — starting with 10 executive orders and other directives, Caitlin Owens writes.