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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The same Russia-based "threat actor" responsible for last winter's Solarwinds attack is at it again, according to a Microsoft report posted late Thursday — this time, targeting human rights and international aid groups.

By the numbers: The attackers, whom Microsoft refers to as Nobelium, targeted roughly 3000 email accounts at 150 organizations in 24 countries, including "government agencies, think tanks, consultants, and non-governmental organizations." The largest share of attacks hit U.S. organizations.

"These attacks appear to be a continuation of multiple efforts by Nobelium to target government agencies involved in foreign policy as part of intelligence gathering efforts," a post by Tom Burt, Microsoft's corporate vice president, customer security and trust, said.

How it worked: Nobelium broke into an email marketing account used by USAID and from there launched phishing attacks on many other organizations, according to Microsoft.

The big picture: "This is yet another example of how cyberattacks have become the tool of choice for a growing number of nation-states to accomplish a wide variety of political objectives," Microsoft's post said.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
May 26, 2021 - Technology

Exclusive interview: Microsoft's Nadella is through being cool

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios. Photos: Microsoft, Toby Scott/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

If software developers don't see Microsoft as the coolest trillion-dollar tech company out there, CEO Satya Nadella is OK with that, he told Axios in an exclusive interview as Microsoft's annual developer conference kicked off Tuesday.

Driving the news: "My sales pitch to anybody, whether it’s an intern or a college grad joining Microsoft is, hey, if you want to be cool, go join someone else," Nadella said. "If you want to make others cool, join Microsoft."

53 mins ago - World

U.S. and NATO answer Putin in writing while bracing for Ukraine invasion

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. Photo: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty

The U.S. and NATO provided Russia with written proposals on Wednesday to advance a "diplomatic path forward," even as they warned that Russia could invade Ukraine within days.

Why it matters: This is a delicate diplomatic balancing act. The U.S. and NATO want to show they're serious about diplomacy but unwilling to compromise on "core principles" — all without providing Vladimir Putin with an additional pretext for escalation.

The political leanings of the Supreme Court justices

Data: Martin-Quinn scores; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Supreme Court will continue to have a solid conservative majority even with Justice Stephen Breyer's retirement.

How to read the chart: An analysis by political scientists Andrew Martin and Kevin Quinn, known as the Martin-Quinn Score, places judges on an ideological spectrum. A lower score indicates a more liberal justice, whereas a higher score indicates a more conservative justice.