Jun 27, 2019

Report: The U.S. or an American ally hacked Russian internet giant

Headquarters of Yandex company. Photo: ALEXANDER NEMENOV / Contributor/Getty Images

Last year, a "Five Eyes" nation — either the United States or one of its 4 closest intelligence partners — may have hacked Yandex, the Russian equivalent to Google, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: The goal appears to have been to find technical details on how Yandex users are authenticated, which could prove useful for breaking into accounts to read or modify messages, observe contacts or other such activities.

The backdrop: The Five Eyes nations — the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia and New Zealand — share intelligence and intelligence gathering capabilities.

  • Regin, the malware that was used in the Yandex operation, is used by Five Eyes nations. It is sophisticated malware with swappable components that have been used in the field since at least 2008.

Details: Reuters sites 4 people with knowledge on the matter.

  • A Yandex spokesperson told Reuters: “This particular attack was detected at a very early stage by the Yandex security team. It was fully neutralized before any damage was done.”
  • Reuters provided one detail attributing the attack to Five Eyes: The attack uses new code inside of Regin, so it seems less likely to be another hacker co-opting the malware for its own devices.
  • It is unclear which nation would have been responsible for the hacking.

Go deeper

What the coronavirus means for Trump's presidency

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

A poor response to the coronavirus could be politically devastating for President Trump, and so far his administration has given the strong impression that it’s still scrambling as the risk of a pandemic mounts.

Why it matters: There’s only so much any president can do to stop a virus from spreading, and for now the coronavirus is still very much under control within the U.S. But if the disease get worse in the months ahead, and if the administration seems to be caught off guard, that spells trouble for public confidence in Trump.

Go deeperArrow51 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus updates: New global case numbers surpass China's

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,800 people and infected over 82,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. As Denmark and Estonia reported their first cases Thursday, Scott Morrison, prime minister of Australia — which has 23 confirmed infections — told a news conference, "The risk of a global pandemic is very much upon us."

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health

Mass shooting in Milwaukee: What we know

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in 2012. Photo: John Gress/Corbis via Getty Images

Six people died in a shooting at the Molson Coors Brewing Company in Milwaukee Molson Coors on Wednesday, including the 51-year-old gunman, Mayor Tom Barrett told reporters at an evening press conference with local police.

Details: All of the victims worked at the brewery complex, as did the shooter who died of "an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, police confirmed in a statement late Wednesday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy