Microsoft isn’t having any luck this week with its Outlook.com email service. After reports initially noted that hackers were able to compromise Outlook.com servers for months, recent updates from Microsoft itself are beginning to show a bit more detrimental picture. Motherboard has reported that 6% of affected individuals received an email from the Redmond, Washington-based company alerting them that their email contents may have been revealed to hackers.
The Outlook.com team has apparently only admitted this via email after first being presented with screenshot evidence confirming the hackers’ level of access. The report continues to note that the system intruders were able to access accounts for up to six months, but according to the Verge, Microsoft rebuts the statement, saying that “the claim of 6 months is inaccurate.” While any level of comprised accounts is disturbing, this instance is exacerbated by the company’s refusal to reveal precisely how many accounts were affected in the breach.
“Our notification to the majority of those impacted noted that bad actors would not have had unauthorized access to the content of e-mails or attachments … a small group (6 percent of the original, already limited subset of consumers) was notified that the bad actors could have had unauthorized access to the content of their email accounts, and was provided with additional guidance and support,” said a Microsoft spokesman.
Previous information about the Outlook.com breach appears to remain accurate, with the crime being committed through the use of a customer support agent’s credentials. Initially, Microsoft had claimed that only email addresses, subject lines of emails, folder labels, and names were able to be accessed by the intrusion, but the new report shows otherwise.
Microsoft has already followed up with users, sending out emails that not only describe recent events but urge caution and note that those affected may see a rise in scam or phishing emails being sent to their inboxes. As such, it is essential to follow basic online safety tips and to keep a close eye on emails that may be trying to phish information from you.
We will continue to update readers on the Outlook.com breach as more information becomes available.