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NotPetya malware wiped hard drives disguised as the Petya ransomware. Photo: Alexander Ryumin / Getty

The British National Cyber Security Centre said Thursday that "the Russian military was almost certainly responsible" for the disastrous NotPetya malware attack.

Why it matters: NotPetya created massive global damage last June, with $300 million to shipping giant Maersk alone. But, cybersecurity firm ESET calculated that 80% of its damages were centered in Ukraine. That was by design. The malware was affixed in an update to accounting software M.E.Doc, which is widely and almost exclusively used in Ukraine.

Deja Vu: Russia is linked to a large number of cyberattacks against its European neighbors, with particular venom towards the former Soviet Bloc and especially Ukraine. The country has faced several blackouts caused by cyberattacks believed to be launched by Moscow, and believes Russia almost comedically botched an election hacking scheme in 2014.

NotPetya is presented as ransomware, a high tech extortion scheme where malware encrypts files and charges users for the decryption key. But in this case, NotPetya was deliberately capable of decrypting files, even if the user paid. Most experts believe NotPetya was intended to cause damage rather than make money.

Go deeper

57 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Manchin's massive means test

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is offering progressives a trade: He'll vote for their cherished social programs if they accept strict income caps for the recipients, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Manchin’s plan to use so-called means-testing for everything from paid family medical leave to elder and disabled care would drastically shrink the size and scope of the programs. It also would bring a key moderate vote to the progressive cause.

The China whisperer

Nick Burns. Photo: Chen Mengtong/China News Service via Getty Images

President Biden's nominee for ambassador to China will face aggressive questioning Wednesday about the most important, and potentially perilous, bilateral relationship in the world.

Why it matters: While Nick Burns is an experienced diplomat with support on both sides of the aisle, lawmakers want to use his confirmation hearing to force the administration into some tough positions on China.

Jan. 6 committee recommends contempt charges against Bannon

Steve Bannon. Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

The House select committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riots unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday night recommending that former Trump aide Steve Bannon be held in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena.

Why it matters: The resolution sets up a House vote to refer Bannon for potential criminal prosecution, signaling that the committee will not tolerate attempts by former President Trump and his associates to stymie the investigation.