Time To Change Your Password: Hackers Infiltrated Microsoft’s Email Servers!

US cybersecurity advisor board investigating Microsoft’s over email breach 

A cybersecurity advisory group in the United States is set to examine potential vulnerabilities in cloud computing. According to sources familiar with the issue the inquiry includes an evaluation of Microsoft Corp.’s involvement in a recent incident where government officials’ email accounts were compromised by alleged hackers with ties to China.

Microsoft under probe over attacks on customer’s accounts  

The Cyber Safety Review Board, established by the Biden administration to probe major cybersecurity incidents, will concentrate on cloud computing infrastructure risks. This includes aspects such as identity verification and authorization control. The committee will conduct thorough assessments of all pertinent cloud solution providers, as outlined by a representative from the Department of Homeland Security. The impetus for this inquiry was underscored by the breach encountered by Microsoft’s email systems. 

The emphasis on cloud computing as the board’s chosen direction comes at the back of a recent appeal by Senator Ron Wyden. The request made last month required inquiry into the involvement of Microsoft in the security breach. Through a letter dated July 27, Senator Wyden urged Attorney General Merrick Garland, Chairperson Lina Khan of the Federal Trade Commission, and Director Jen Easterly of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to investigate the tech giant’s role in the breach and potential lax in its approach to cybersecurity measures.

A representative of the software maker failed to comment on the development as the company continues to experience heightened scrutiny from government agencies and security experts regarding its ability to protect its customers against breaches. Amit Yoran, CEO of cybersecurity firm Tenable Holdings Inc., criticized Microsoft’s lack of transparency regarding breaches, security practices, and vulnerabilities. He highlighted how these deliberately concealed issues put customers at risk.

According to a CISA statement the agency is responsible for managing the board established following a major cybersecurity incidence. This board investigates and produces reports on the causes of these events, along with suggestions for improvements. Easterly recommended that Microsoft should emphasize security, echoing Bill Gates’ call for “trustworthy computing” over adding new features in 2002. 

Easterly said that Microsoft needs to ensure their product are secure by design and by default and the agency will continue working with them to ensure they comply.

Hackers had access to Microsoft’s consumer signing key

The cyberattack targeted US officials’ email accounts, including those of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and State Department personnel, just prior to Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to Beijing for a meeting with President Xi Jinping. The hackers gained unauthorized access to the email networks by exploiting a Microsoft consumer signing key. This allowed them to compromise officials’ email accounts.

The theft of government emails was attributed to a mistake by Microsoft, according to Senator Wyden from Oregon. He criticized Microsoft for having a single “skeleton key” that, once stolen, allowed unauthorized access to private communications of various customers.

Also, Wyden has urged US officials to probe the SolarWinds attack, asserting that Microsoft failed to acknowledge its involvement. In this 2020 attack, Russian state-backed hackers infiltrated federal and private computer networks, causing widespread compromise.

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