Why it matters: The SolarWinds hack has drawn a lot of attention over its effect on numerous US agencies, but the Russian government-blamed attack is widespread in scope, hitting a list of tech companies that include Intel and Nvidia.

Last week brought news that multiple federal government agencies, including the US Treasury and Commerce departments, had been compromised after installing a booby-trapped update for network monitoring software SolarWinds Orion.

It's believed that hackers working at the behest of the Russian government breached SolarWinds and deployed the malware-packed update. Codenamed Sunburst, the attack is believed to have been used in the breach on cybersecurity giant FireEye.

The Wall Street Journal now reports that at least two dozen organizations installed the Orion update, including Intel, Nvidia, VMware, and Belkin. SolarWinds notes that "fewer than 18,000" companies were impacted by the hack, which allowed attackers "potential access to much sensitive corporate and personal data."

SolarWinds says it traced the hackers' activity back to October 2019. There have also been reports of another, less sophisticated group, not related to the Russian attackers, breaking into the company using the same exploit.

The named companies are investigating, and there is no evidence that they were negatively impacted; it's possible that government agencies were the primary target, and these firms happen to use the same Orion software. Nevertheless, it's still a worrying development, especially given the difficulty that comes with ensuring hackers can no longer access a network following an initial breach.

Image credit: Travel_with_me