Microsoft has reported a breach of their webmail service that exposed a “limited” number of email accounts to criminal intrusion.
Microsoft Webmail Services Compromised
Microsoft confirmed to TechCrunch today that some of their webmail users had their email accounts exposed to intruders between January 1 and March 28 after obtaining the credentials of a Microsoft customer support agent.
“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 wrote in an email to TechCrunch.
An email sent out to affected users stated that intruders were possibly able to see a user’s email address, the email addresses of those a user corresponded with, email subject lines, and folder names the user had set up, but not the actual email contents or any passwords.
Still, Microsoft is strongly suggesting that affected users change their passwords anyway as a security precaution.
TechCrunch released the full email from Microsoft to affected users and we have reprinted it below.
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.
If you require further assistance, or have any additional questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to our Incident Response Team at email@example.com. If you are a citizen of European Union, you may also contact Microsoft’s Data Protection Officer at:
EU Data Protection Officer
Microsoft Ireland Operations Ltd
One Microsoft Place,
South County Business Park,
Leopardstown, Dublin 18, Ireland
Microsoft regrets any inconvenience caused by this issue. Please 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.