Photo: NurPhoto / Contributor/Getty Images

Microsoft believes an Iranian group tried to hack 241 email accounts of “a U.S. presidential campaign, current and former U.S. government officials, journalists covering global politics and prominent Iranians living outside Iran,” the company said Friday in a blog post.

The impact: The hackers — who were apparently backed by Iran's government — targeted President Trump's re-election campaign, the New York Times reports. The group allegedly compromised 4 accounts, which Microsoft said did not belong to government officials or a presidential campaign.

The big picture: The hacking attempts were not technologically complicated, and often involved using personal information found through research to reset victim passwords, including breaching a user’s backup email account to leverage access to a primary Microsoft-managed account.

  • The group Microsoft believes is behind the hacks is well-documented and directed by the Iranian government. In different naming schemes, it is called APT 35, Charming Kitten, The Ajax Security Team and Phosphorus.

The motive of the hackers is not immediately clear. Though election tampering is likely at the front of the American psyche for the U.S. targets, most foreign espionage is just espionage — spying to gain information to better understand global affairs and negotiations.

Go deeper: For hacked campaigns, 2020 might as well be 2016

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22 mins ago - World

Hong Kong pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai arrested

Millionaire media tycoon Jimmy Lai (C) and other activists outside the West Kowloon Magistrates Court in Hong Kong in July. Photo: Anthony WallaceA/AFP via Getty Images

Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Jimmy Lai has been arrested for "collusion with foreign powers," said Mark Simon, an executive at the tycoon's media firm Next Digital Monday morning local time. His son was also arrested, Lai's newspaper Apple Daily reports.

Why it matters: They were arrested under the national security law imposed by China in late June that gives Beijing more powers over the former British colony, per Bloomberg. Lai is the most prominent person arrested under the law, which prompted the U.S. to sanction Chinese officials, including Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, over Beijing's efforts to strip the territory of its autonomy.

Go deeper: With new security law, China outlaws global activism

Editor's note: This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 19,769,560— Total deaths: 729,351 — Total recoveries — 12,030,061Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 5,041,573 — Total deaths: 162,913 — Total recoveries: 1,656,864 — Total tests: 61,792,571Map.
  3. Politics: Pelosi says states don't have the funds to comply with Trump's executive order on unemployment — Mnuchin says Trump executive orders were cleared by Justice Department.
  4. States: New York reports lowest rate of positive coronavirus test results since pandemic began
  5. Public health: Ex-FDA head: U.S. will "definitely" see 200,000 to 300,000 virus deaths by end of 2020. 
  6. Schools: Nine test positive at Georgia school where photo showing packed hallway went viral — How back-to-school is playing out in the South as coronavirus rages on.

New York reports new low positive coronavirus test rate

People physically distancing at tables in New York City's Times Square in June. Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced Sunday 515 people, or 0.78% of those tested, returned a positive reading for COVID-19 the previous day.

Why it matters: It's the lowest single-day positive rate since the start of the pandemic. It's another sign that the state that was once a global coronavirus epicenter is curbing the spread of the virus. "Our daily numbers remain low and steady, despite increasing infection rates across the country, and even in our region," Cuomo said in a statement. "But we must not become complacent: Everyone should continue to wear their masks and socially distance."

Go deeper: Cuomo says all New York schools can reopen for in-person learning