Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Some 70% of cyberattacks by cyber criminals are now phishing-related, according to a new report from Microsoft, which also found that attacks on critical infrastructure represent just a small slice of state-backed hacking efforts.

Why it matters: In the past, the report notes, "cybercriminals focused on malware attacks" to compromise their targets. The shift reflects cyber criminals’ skill at quickly adapting, in this case by pivoting to tried-and-true human engineering to trick people into handing over credentials.

Of note: In the last year, Microsoft analysts observed hackers affiliated with "16 different nation-state actors either targeting customers involved in the global COVID-19 response efforts or using the crisis in themed lures to expand their credential theft and malware delivery tactics," says the report.

  • These attacks targeted government health care organizations, as well as academic and commercial entities working on vaccine research, per the report.

Meanwhile: Though much attention has focused on breaches in critical infrastructure, the vast majority of cyber espionage observed by Microsoft is unrelated to it, says the report.

  • 90% of Microsoft’s "nation-state notifications in the past year have been to organizations that do not operate critical infrastructure," says the report.
  • "Common targets have included nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), advocacy groups, human rights organizations and think tanks focused on public policy, international affairs or security."

Go deeper

FBI: Russian hacking group stole data after targeting local governments

FBI Headquarters. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Energetic Bear, a Russian state-sponsored hacking group, has stolen data from two servers after targeting state and federal government networks in the U.S. since at least September, the FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said on Thursday.

Driving the news: Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe announced Wednesday that Iran and Russia had obtained voter registration information that could be used to undermine confidence in the U.S. election system.

Post-debate poll finds Biden strong on every major issue

Joe Biden speaks Friday about "The Biden Plan to Beat COVID-19," at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

This is one of the bigger signs of trouble for President Trump that we've seen in a poll: Of the final debate's seven topics, Joe Biden won or tied on all seven when viewers in a massive Axios-SurveyMonkey sample were asked who they trusted more to handle the issue.

Why it matters: In a time of unprecedented colliding crises for the nation, the polling considered Biden to be vastly more competent.