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The Department of Homeland Security said in a warning issued on Saturday there's been a recent rise in malicious cyber activity directed at U.S. industries and government agencies by Iranian regime actors and proxies.

"Iranian regime actors and proxies are increasingly using destructive 'wiper' attacks, looking to do much more than just steal data and money. These efforts are often enabled through common tactics like spear phishing, password spraying, and credential stuffing."
— Christopher Krebbs, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency director

Details: Christopher Krebbs, director of the DHS' Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, said what might start as an account compromise, where you think you might just lose data, "can quickly become a situation where you’ve lost your whole network."

The big picture: The warning comes after Cybersecurity companies CrowdStrike and FireEye reported increased Iranian cyberattacks against the U.S. government in recent weeks, per AP.

  • President Trump approved military strikes "on a handful of Iranian targets" on Thursday but called them off at the last minute, amid heightened tensions that have brought back fears that the U.S. could be on course for war with Iran.

What they're saying: CrowdStrike and FireEye say hackers working for the Iranian government have targeted sectors of the U.S. economy, "including oil and gas," and government agencies with spear-phishing emails.

The bottom line:

"The cyber offensive is the latest chapter in the U.S. and Iran’s ongoing cyber operations targeting the other, with this recent sharp increase in attacks occurring after the Trump administration imposed sanctions on the Iranian petrochemical sector this month."
AP's Tami Abdollah

Go deeper: A timeline of how Trump and Tehran came to the brink of war

Go deeper

Cyber war scales up with new Microsoft hack

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Last week's revelation of a new cyberattack on thousands of small businesses and organizations, on top of last year's SolarWinds hack, shows we've entered a new era of mass-scale cyber war.

Why it matters: In a world that's dependent on interlocking digital systems, there's no escaping today's cyber conflicts. We're all potential victims even if we're not participants.

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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Why it matters: Space is being opened up to people who wouldn't have had the prospect of flying there even five years ago, but these types of missions have far-reaching implications for who determines who gets to make use of space and for what.

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Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

A year after the coronavirus abruptly shut down much of the country, Americans are watching for a clear signal of when the pandemic will be over — and most won't be ready to ditch the masks and social distancing until they get it, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

The big picture: The poll found that more Americans are expecting the outbreak to be over sooner rather than later, as vaccinations ramp up throughout the country — but that very few are ready to end the precautions that have upended their lives.