Hackers in Microsoft's webmail breach could read some users' messages

The breach occurred between January and March this year

Microsoft confirmed during the weekend that cybercriminals managed to compromise the account of a support agent and then access users' email accounts.

The technology giant said a "limited" number of accounts had been affected by the breach, but confirmed around 6% of those involved may have seen the content of their e-mails become accessible to the attackers.

An unknown number of Microsoft Corp. email account users, including those using Outlook and Hotmail, may have had details of emails stolen in a hack that lasted from January 1 to March 28.

The hack is apparently the outcome of hackers gaining access to customer support account for Outlook.com, a tool that does give support agents full access to Outlook.com emails. 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 an email being sent to affected users, Microsoft claims that apart from the content of the emails including attachments, the hackers could have possibly viewed account email addresses, folder names and subject lines of the mails sent and received, The Verge reported on Saturday. They told Motherboard that they can indeed access email contents and have shown that publication screenshots to prove their point. The hack did not affect enterprise accounts, it added. Although the source claims this went on for at least six months, Microsoft says the hackers had access from January 1st to March 28th.

Microsoft later admitted that this was indeed the case, explaining that the emails of a small number of users might have been exposed, and it notified them accordingly.

The source confirms that hackers were able to read the contents of emails, saying the access was used as part of a scam to unlock iPhones which had been stolen.

Despite the perpetrators not gaining access to account passwords, Microsoft is still recommending that if you've been affected, you should change your password just as a precautionary measure.

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