Microsoft's Web-Based Email Services Breached

Microsoft support agent's email hacked, customer emails compromised

That was the extent of the breach for most compromised accounts, but around six percent of affected users didn't get so lucky. 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.

This security incident comes weeks after a former security researcher pleaded guilty to hacking into Microsoft and Nintendo servers for a number of weeks in January 2017, allowing European hackers to access pre-release versions of Windows.

Microsoft operates e-mail services including Outlook, MSN and Hotmail.

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.

Late on Friday, some users of Outlook.com/Hotmail/MSN Mail received an email from Microsoft stating that an unauthorized third party had gained limited access to their accounts, and was able to read, among other things, the subject lines of emails (but not their bodies or attachments, nor their account passwords), between January 1st and March 28th of this year. Paid-for, enterprise accounts were unaffected-only consumer accounts were hit.

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Microsoft did not respond to multiple requests for additional comment.

'Upon awareness of this issue, Microsoft immediately disabled the compromised credentials, prohibiting their use for any further unauthorised access.

Specifically, Microsoft admitted it had sent notifications of a security breach to some users which informed them that their email content had (potentially) been read, but that this only applied to a small amount of the affected users, around 6%.

However, following a new report from Vice's Motherboard website revealing that hackers were actually able to read the content of emails, Microsoft has been forced to change its stance.

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