Microsoft support agent's email hacked, customer emails compromised

Microsoft support agent's email hacked, customer emails compromised

Microsoft support agent's email hacked, customer emails compromised

Email accounts across Microsoft's Outlook, Hotmail and MSN services were left vulnerable for nearly three months after it emerged that hackers had targeted them.

"This unauthorized access could have allowed unauthorized parties to access and/or view information related to your email account (such as your e-mail address, folder names, the subject lines of e-mails, and the names of other e-mail addresses you communicate with), but not the content of any e-mails or attachments", Microsoft said (emphasis is ours). But a number of people received a different email that indicated hackers had wider access, including to email contents.

The web mail services affected include platforms like Outlook, Hotmail, and MSN. The site's source witnessed the attack and described it in March, before Microsoft's statement.

Motherboard's source has provided screenshots proving the email contents were, in some instances, accessed.

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". When presented with this evidence, Microsoft admitted this was the case for around 6 percent of a small number of impacted customers.

"We addressed this scheme, which affected a limited subset of consumer accounts, by disabling the compromised credentials and blocking the perpetrators' access", the company was quoted as saying.

However, it then emerged that matters were worse than Microsoft first admitted: Motherboard spoke to a source who claimed that a "large number" of accounts were affected, and what's more, in some cases, contents of emails were read by the hackers - and Microsoft subsequently confirmed the latter was true.

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