Monday, 01 June, 2020


Microsoft email breach gave hackers access to account information for months

Microsoft Microsoft email accounts were left vulnerable Credit Microsoft
Melba Vasquez | 16 April, 2019, 00:31

And while 6% might not sound like a lot, Microsoft still hasn't revealed how many accounts were affected by the Outlook hack in total. However, Microsoft has hundreds of millions of webmail users with Outlook.com, Hotmail and MSN accounts.

The number of accounts is described as "limited" but while the situation over the weekend - first reported by TechCrunch - appeared to be limited to information related to customer accounts, Motherboard then reported that a witness told them the information actually involved the full content of emails.

Microsoft recently became aware of an issue involving unauthorized access to some customers' web-based email accounts by cybercriminals. We addressed this scheme by disabling the compromised credentials to the limited set of targeted accounts, while also blocking the perpetrators' access. Microsoft tried to calm users' concerns by saying that only "your e-mail address, folder names, the subject lines of e-mails, and the names of other e-mail addresses you communicate with" had been accessed.

According to an e-mail sent to the majority of affected users and then posted online, the firm said a Microsoft support agent's credentials were compromised, potentially allowing unauthorised access to some account information.

Microsoft later admitted that this was indeed the case, explaining that the emails of a small number of users might have been exposed, and it notified them accordingly.

The support account would also have only had access to free Outlook.com/Hotmail/MSN-branded accounts, and not to paid Office 365 email. Microsoft has only said there were a "limited number" of compromised accounts. In other words, the hackers aren't much interested in the email accounts per se; they just want to get their hands on those important reset-request emails so that they can boost the value of their stolen phones.

The company added that although password information had not been affected, it encouraged users to change their log-in details "out of caution".

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