Microsoft support agent's email hacked, customer emails compromised

Microsoft support agent's email hacked, customer emails compromised

It's not clear how many users have been affected by the breach.

Cybercriminals have compromised a "limited" number of Microsoft email accounts, the software giant has told customers.

Microsoft has sent an email out to a number of account holders to warn them that a support agent's login details were compromised and that it's possible limited parts of their email may have been spied on between 1 January and 29 March 2019 as a result.

Microsoft clarified that this "affected a limited subset of consumer accounts" and that the malicious activity began at the start of January 2019 and ran through to nearly the end of March, so essentially lasted three months. With these credentials the hackers could use Microsoft's internal customer support portal, which offers support agents some level of access to Outlook.com accounts.

In our original story, we shared the email that Microsoft was sending out to those who had been affected by the attack, explaining that hackers had only been able to access a limited amount of information.

Despite Microsoft's initial notification to affected Outlook users on Friday, a follow-up statement added that hackers were able to read email content.

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. Paid-for, enterprise accounts were unaffected-only consumer accounts were hit.

Microsoft did not respond to multiple requests for additional comment. Passwords were not stolen in the hack. The company did say that potential hackers could only read full email content for about 6% of affected Outlook users.

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. Out of an abundance of caution, we also increased detection and monitoring to further protect affected accounts.

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