Microsoft Outlook Hacked; Data Compromised Of More Than 20,000 Organizations Globally

Microsoft Outlook Hacked; Data Compromised Of More Than 20,000 Organizations Globally
Microsoft Outlook Hacked; Data Compromised Of More Than 20,000 Organizations Globally

More than 20,000 U.S. organizations have been compromised through a back door installed via recently patched flaws in Microsoft Corp’s email software, a person familiar with the U.S. government’s response said on Friday.

More people have been hacked than all of the corrupted code downloaded from SolarWinds Corp, the company at the centre of another major hacking spree discovered in December. The latest hack has left channels for remote access spread across credit unions, city governments, and small businesses, according to the U.S. investigation.

Microsoft working with government agencies to provide help to customers.

Microsoft, which had initially said the hacks consisted of “limited and targeted attacks,” declined to comment on the scale of the problem on Friday but said it was working with government agencies and security companies to provide help to customers.

It added, “impacted customers should contact our support teams for additional help and resources.”

Just 10% of those who were vulnerable had installed the patches by Friday, according to a scan of connected devices, though that number was growing. Since the patch does not eliminate the back doors, authorities in the United States are desperately trying to find out how to contact all of the victims and assist them in their search.

Instead of depending on cloud services, all of those affected tend to run Web versions of email client Outlook and host them on their computers. According to the records, many of the largest corporations and federal government departments could have been spared. 

Why Officials Expect More Attacks ?

The initial wave of attacks was blamed on a Chinese government-backed actor, according to Microsoft and the person working on the US response. According to a Chinese government spokesperson, the country was not responsible for the intrusions. What began as a targeted attack against a few classic espionage targets late last year developed into a widespread campaign last month.More attacks are expected from other hackers as the code used to take control of the mail servers spreads. 

Earlier on Friday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the vulnerabilities found in Microsoft’s widely used Exchange servers were “significant,” and “could have far-reaching impacts.”

“We’re concerned that there are a large number of victims,” Psaki said.

The hackers have only used the back doors to re-enter and move around the infected networks in a small percentage of cases, probably less than 1 in 10, the person working with the government said.

“A couple of hundred guys are exploiting them as fast as they can,” stealing data and installing other ways to return later, he said.

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