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Lebanon's flag is seen hanging over a building in downtown Beirut. Photo: Salah Malkawi / Getty Images

Hackers with links to Lebanon’s main intelligence agency left hundreds of gigabytes of intercepted data on the open internet, per a report from security firm Lookout, Inc. and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Victims of the hack span 21 different countries, including in the U.S. and European countries, per the report, which is calling the hacking campaign “Dark Caracal.”

Why it's unique: The report links state-backed hackers to a specific building. Electronic Frontier Foundation Director of Cybersecurity Eva Galperin told the AP's Rachel Satter she can only recall one other time in history that that precision has been achieved.

  • The smoking gun: The report identifies the intersection where the WiFi network was active that test devices appear to have used to launch the hacking software. That intersection is where Lebanon’s General Directorate of General Security is located and is just north of where the IP address of the spyware’s control panel was mapped. The AP was able to partially verify the WiFi network’s location.

In the hacked and exposed data: Syrian battlefield photos, private phone conversations, passwords, pictures of children’s birthday parties, per the AP.

  • How the hackers tricked people, per the report: They spoofed websites and apps, such as encrypted apps WhatsApp and Signal, to steal passwords and eavesdrop. The hackers tricked some users to visit bad web sites via message apps , and tricked others with fake Facebook profiles of women. Some may have been compromised with physical attacks on their phones while they were away from them.

Next: The report’s authors told the AP more revelations and evidence are to come.

Go deeper: The world's top cyber powers

Go deeper

31 mins ago - World

Two years of COVID-19

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Axios Visuals

Two years ago Wednesday, the first case of a mysterious new respiratory disease was discovered in Wuhan, China. Now, the Omicron variant has deepened concerns about just how much longer the coronavirus pandemic will last.

The big picture: More than 5 million people have died since that first case. Most people on earth have lived through some form of lockdown. 54% of the global population has had at least one vaccination, though the shots have been distributed unevenly.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

14 hours ago - Economy & Business

CNN fires Chris Cuomo

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CNN

CNN said Saturday evening it has fired one of its star anchors, Chris Cuomo, following new revelations from a legal review made by the company into Cuomo's involvement in the management of his brother's sexual harassment scandal.

Why it matters: Saturday's firing speaks to how much pressure CNN was under by employees and critics to address Cuomo's behavior.