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Extent of the Microsoft hack becoming known

The extent of the Microsoft Exchange hack has continued to become known to the public.

user icon Liam Garman
Tue, 16 Mar 2021
Extent of the Microsoft hack becoming known
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Over the week, Microsoft has become consumed by a cyber security breach that counts global financial institutions, governments, healthcare providers and large-scale industry as alleged victims.

In a hacking scandal that has enthralled the cyber security industry, it has been revealed that Microsoft has been working to address four security weaknesses stemming from the Microsoft Exchange email system since January. Microsoft had further hoped that it would be able to address the weaknesses with a patch that was to be released on the second Tuesday of this month.

However, before it could release the patch, cyber criminals across the globe had already begun their attack.

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Sources reveal that thousands of systems were compromised over a noticeably short matter of time.

Questions are being raised as to how hackers were able to identify Exchange’s susceptibilities in the short timeframe, between having the issue raised with them by Taiwan-based DEVCORE in January and releasing the patch to the public. It has been suggested that there may be a leak within Microsoft, either intentional or unintentional, that tipped off the cyber criminals about the release of a Microsoft Exchange patch.

Typically, industry experts are aware that the release of a patch can entice a cyber security breach, as hackers seek to leverage the program’s shortfall before the global community has the opportunity to download the patch.

While the range of victims is not yet known, sources range from 60,000 to 250,000.

Counted among the targets and potential victims include a global array of governments in the Middle East, Latin America and eastern Europe.

Indeed, the extent of the breach is so severe that the new Biden administration in the US have come forward to address the ongoing issue.

"Everyone running these servers government, private sector, academia – needs to act now to patch them," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki announced.

As of late last week, Microsoft confirmed that there were still 82,000 unpatched users.

[Related: Further allegations surface following November vaccine hacking]

Liam Garman

Liam Garman

Liam Garman is the editor of leading Australian security and defence publications Cyber Daily and Defence Connect. 

Liam began his career as a speech writer at New South Wales Parliament before working for world leading campaigns and research agencies in Sydney and Auckland. Throughout his career, Liam has managed and executed a range of international media and communications campaigns spanning politics, business, industrial relations and infrastructure. He’s since shifted his attention to researching and writing extensively on geopolitics and defence, specifically in North Africa, the Middle East and Asia. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Sydney and a Masters of Strategy and Security from UNSW Canberra, with a thesis on postmodernism and disinformation operations. 

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