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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A U.S. task force responsible for investigating the massive cyberattack that breached the departments of Defense, State and Homeland Security — among others — identified the hack as "likely Russian in origin," per a joint statement on Tuesday.

Why it matters: This is the first time the federal government has formally named Russia as the likely origin of the attack.

Catch up quick: The attackers targeted SolarWinds, the globally used network-management software that serves major companies and governments.

  • The FBI, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and other agencies gathered under the National Security Council have so far "identified fewer than ten U.S. government agencies" that were affected by the breach.
  • Roughly 18,000 people and private sector companies are known to have been impacted overall, the agencies noted.

Of note: President Trump responded to the cyberattack in mid-December, claiming the "Fake News Media" exaggerated the extent of the hack, and claimed that China may be responsible, contradicting other government officials who attributed the breach to Russia.

What they're saying: "This work indicates that an Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) actor, likely Russian in origin, is responsible for most or all of the recently discovered, ongoing cyber compromises of both government and non-governmental networks," the agencies said.

  • "At this time, we believe this was, and continues to be, an intelligence gathering effort."

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 27, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden to sign major climate orders, setting up clash with oil industry

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Biden will sign new executive actions today that provide the clearest signs yet of his climate plans — elevating the issue to a national security priority and kicking off an intense battle with the oil industry.

Driving the news: One move will freeze issuance of new oil-and-gas leases on public lands and waters "to the extent possible," per a White House summary.

DHS warns of "heightened threat" because of domestic extremism

Supporters of former President Trump protest inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday issued an advisory warning of a "heightened threat environment" in the U.S. because of "ideologically-motivated violent extremists."

Why it matters: DHS believes the threat of violence will persist for "weeks" following President Biden's inauguration. The extremists include those who opposed the presidential transition, people spurred by "grievances fueled by false narratives" and "anger over COVID-19 restrictions ... and police use of force[.]"

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Jan 28, 2021 - Economy & Business

How "country-of-origin" regulations jam up global trade

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Biden wants the 650,000 vehicles operated by the federal government to be electric, union-made — and made in America. As Axios' Joann Muller reports, even managing the first two would be extremely difficult. The third, however, is particularly problematic.

Why it matters: We live in a world of highly complex global supply chains, where "made in" designations are increasingly difficult to determine.