US warns of ‘active threat’ of Microsoft attack

7 March, 2021 12:00 AM printer

The US is expressing growing concern over a hack on Microsoft’s Exchange email software that the tech company has blamed on China, reports BBC.

“This is an active threat,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday. “Everyone running these servers - government, private sector, academia - needs to act now to patch them.”

Microsoft said hackers had used its mail server to attack their targets.

It is reported that tens of thousands of US organisations may be impacted.

The US has long accused the Chinese government of cyber-espionage, something Beijing denies.

Psaki told reporters that the White House was “concerned         

that there are a large number of victims” and said the vulnerabilities found in Microsoft’s servers “could have far reaching impacts”.

Microsoft executive Tom Burt revealed the breach in a blog post on Tuesday and announced updates to counter security flaws which he said had allowed hackers to gain access to Microsoft Exchange servers. The Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) attributed the attacks with “high confidence” to a “state-sponsored threat actor” based in China which they named Hafnium.

The tech giant said Hafnium had tried to steal information from groups such as infectious disease researchers, law firms, higher education institutions and defence contractors.

A spokesman for the Chinese government told Reuters news agency that the country was not behind the hack. Beijing has repeatedly rejected US accusations of cyber-crime.


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