Microsoft reveals major email security breach

Alfred Osborne
April 15, 2019

When Microsoft was confronted by the evidence they admitted that hackers had more access than revealed earlier, but said only 6% of the affected had their emails read.

Cybercriminals have compromised a "limited" number of Microsoft email accounts, the software giant has told customers.

The same source also claimed that the hackers had access for "at least six months", although Microsoft disputed this and maintained that the culprits' access lasted between January 1st and March 28th. "In 2014, Microsoft looked into the email account of a French blogger to identify a Windows 8 leaker", highlighted the Motherboard report.

Microsoft sent an email to the affected users last Friday, alerting them that hackers had potentially been able to access a trove of information, including the subject lines of their emails and the names of the people they've emailed, "but not the content of any e-mails or attachments". Enterprise accounts were not affected, per Motherboard's source.

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However, when approached for comment on the incident, Microsoft confirmed that a small group of users had also been notified that bad actors could have gained unauthorised access to the wider contents of their e-mails.

"We addressed this scheme, which affected a limited subset of consumer accounts, by disabling the compromised credentials and blocking the perpetrators access", a Microsoft spokesperson said.

While the breach is severe, Microsoft claims that the most sensitive of personal data - passwords and the contents of emails, as well as any files attached to said emails - were not accessible using the stolen credentials.

In an email to affected users, Microsoft noted that it "regrets any inconvenience caused by this issue", and that they should be "assured that Microsoft takes data protection very seriously and has engaged its internal security and privacy teams in the investigation and resolution of the issue, as well as additional hardening of systems and processes to prevent such recurrence".

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