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Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

A hacker group associated with the Russian government breached the computer systems of the Republican National Committee last week in a massive ransomware attack, Bloomberg first reported.

The big picture: The attack follows a separate Russia-based criminal group unleashing an attack that compromised the computer systems of at least 1,000 businesses. No connection has been established between the attacks.

What they're saying: It is unclear what, if any, information the Cozy Bear hackers found. Danielle Alvarez, the GOP communications director, released a statement saying that while it was informed by Microsoft that their systems may had been exposed, "no RNC data was accessed."

  • Alvarez added that it "will continued to work with Microsoft, as well as federal law enforcement officials on this matter."
  • An RNC spokesperson told Bloomberg it is investigating the situation and has already informed the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.
  • "Over the weekend, we were informed that Synnex, a third party provider, had been breached," RNC chief of staff Richard Walters said in a statement. "We immediately blocked all access from Synnex accounts to our cloud environment."
    • "Our team worked with Microsoft to conduct a review of our systems and after a thorough investigation, no RNC data was accessed. We will continue to work with Microsoft, as well as federal law enforcement officials on the matter.
  • The RNC said it was aware of "few instances where outside actors have attempted to gain access, through Synnex, to customer applications within the Microsoft cloud environment," per Bloomberg.

Zoom out: Cozy Bear, also known as APT 29, has been tied to the Russian foreign intelligence service and accused of breaching the Democratic National Committee in 2016 as well as carrying out a supply-chain cyberattack involving SolarWinds Corp., which infiltrated nine U.S. government agencies.

  • United States and United Kingdom intelligence agencies said in a report Thursday that Russian military hackers over the last three years have tried to access the computer networks of "hundreds of government and private sector targets worldwide" and warned that those "efforts are almost certainly still ongoing."

Go deeper: U.S., U.K. intel: Russian military hacking attempts "certainly still ongoing"

Editor's note: This story's headline has been updated to clarify that hackers breached a Republican National Committee contractor.

Go deeper

Oct 5, 2021 - World

Senators call on Biden to expel 300 Russian diplomats over Moscow embassy ban

Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

17 senators, including the top Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Intelligence and Foreign Relations committees, are calling on President Biden to expel 300 Russian diplomats if Moscow does not issue more diplomatic visas to make up for its ban on the U.S. Embassy hiring local Russian staff.

Why it matters: It would be the largest expulsion of Russian diplomats in U.S. history and would mark a major escalation in tensions between the two countries.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
2 hours ago - Technology

Facebook's scandals have been great for shareholders

Expand chart
Data: YCharts; Chart: Axios

Facebook has been embroiled in scandal for the past five years, and while the specific allegations change over time, a central theme is constant. Given the choice between commercial and moral imperatives, Facebook always seems to choose the option that is best for the share price.

Why it matters: Facebook's stock chart supports that narrative. Since the 2016 scandals alleging that the social network was infiltrated by foreign actors trying to influence the outcome of democratic elections, Facebook's revenues — and its stock — have been soaring.

Biden to tap telecom trio for NTIA, FCC posts

Jessica Rosenworcel. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

President Joe Biden on Tuesday is expected to name Alan Davidson as head of the telecom arm of the Commerce Department, Jessica Rosenworcel as chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission and Gigi Sohn as a commissioner at the FCC, according to a person familiar with the process.

Why it matters: Internet availability and affordability has been a key policy priority for the White House, but the administration lagged in tapping people for the agency posts that oversee the issues.