Outlook and Hotmail users left exposed in Microsoft email breach

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Por: PeriodicoVirtual

Outlook and Hotmail users left exposed in Microsoft email breach

Outlook and Hotmail account holders were left vulnerable for almost three months after cyber criminals targeted Microsoft’s suite of email services boasting hundreds of millions of users.

A number of people had their accounts compromised in a breach that took place between January 1 and March 28, according to Microsoft.

Hackers broke into a customer support account, which then allowed them to gain unauthorised access to personal information, such as the subject lines of some emails, the identities of recipients of messages and the names of folders.

The company told affected users in an email that “the content of any emails or attachments” were not accessed in the breach earlier this year, and that it “immediately disabled the compromised credentials” once it became aware of the issue. Passwords were not stolen in the hack.

“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.

However, technology news site Motherboard reported that the extent of the breach was significant, with the content of some users' emails and inboxes being left exposed.

Microsoft confirmed that 6pc of the affected group could have been particularly vulnerable, with the cyber criminals potentially having “unauthorised access to the content of their email accounts”.

According to Dave Palmer, director of technology at cyber security firm Darktrace, the attack reveals the “complexity and unpredictability of the cyber-threat landscape”.

“As digital defences ramp up in sophistication, hackers are increasingly opting for social engineering techniques, in this case targeting a member of tech support at Microsoft in order to abuse their privileged access,” he said.

“This time, it looks like some users have had metadata about their email account stolen (e.g. who they contact) and a handful may have had their emails read.”

It is not clear exactly how many users were affected by the hack or if users in particular locations were affected, but there is some indication that affected users were located in the European Union, with the company highlighting the address of Microsoft's data protection officer to EU citizens who received the warning email.

Microsoft has urged notified users to reset their passwords “out of caution” and to be vigilant of emails that may contain a misleading domain name or requests for personal information and payment.

The company has previously claimed that Russian hackers targeted non-profit organisations in Europe, raising concerns ahead of the European Union elections this year.

Taken from: telegraph.co.uk

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