Hackers were able to access Outlook.com email accounts for months

Microsoft has discovered that a support agent’s account credentials were compromised for its web mail service, this allowed unauthorized access to some accounts between January 1st 2019 and March 28th 2019. Microsoft says the hackers could have viewed account email addresses, folder names, and subject lines of emails, but not the content of emails or attachments.

Vice’s Motherboard revealed the hackers have been able to access some accounts for up to six months, and have used the access to reset iCloud accounts linked to stolen Apple iPhones.

“We addressed this scheme, which affected a limited subset of consumer accounts, by disabling the compromised credentials and blocking the perpetrators’ access,” Microsoft said in a statement.

Microsoft didn’t specify how many users were affected overall.

E-mail Microsoft Sent To Affected users

Microsoft is committed to providing our customers with transparency. As part of maintaining this trust and commitment to you, we are informing you of a recent event that affected your Microsoft-managed email account.

We have identified that a Microsoft support agent’s credentials were compromised, enabling individuals outside Microsoft to access information within your Microsoft email account. 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, between January 1st 2019 and March 28th 2019.

Upon awareness of this issue, Microsoft immediately disabled the compromised credentials, prohibiting their use for any further unauthorized access. Our data indicates that account-related information (but not the content of any e-mails) could have been viewed, but Microsoft has no indication why that information was viewed or how it may have been used. As a result, you may receive phishing emails or other spam mails. You should be careful when receiving any e-mails from any misleading domain name, any e-mail that requests personal information or payment, or any unsolicited request from an untrusted source (you can read more about phishing attacks at https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/security/threat-protection/intelligence/phishing).

It is important to note that your email login credentials were not directly impacted by this incident. However, out of caution, you should reset your password for your account.

Jason Davies

UK based technology professional, with an interest in computer security and telecoms.

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