Businesses Lose Data in Office 365 Targeted Cyber Attacks
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- By Steven
- Jul 27, 2023
Microsoft is a large tech company based in the United States with operations in many other parts of the world. The organization is best known for its computer operating systems and its Microsoft 365 suite of business applications. The company employs more than 220,000 individuals and is involved in the management of countless businesses around the world. With so much business data relying on the security of Microsoft products, it is upsetting to learn that Microsoft products are being targeted and exploited and that businesses are losing important data as a result.
How Did the Attack Occur?
A hacker group that's believed to be based in China was caught on some Microsoft 365 cloud environments accessing confidential information. The hackers were eventually identified, and Microsoft, as well as additional security agencies, began responding to the threat, patching the issues, and enhancing security. We don't have information about the number of companies impacted by this attack, we only know that some businesses were compromised as a result of focused hacker efforts. The authorities and Microsoft believe this attack was meant to gather intelligence and that it was an espionage effort by Chinese companies.
What Information Was Viewed or Stolen?
We don't have specific details about what data was taken in these Microsoft 365 cloud hacks. We only know that some businesses were targeted and that they lost information. It's unclear if the businesses will come forward and explain what data was involved. If any worker or employee data was involved in this cyber attack, the businesses would have to announce what information was stolen and create personalized letters for all the impacted parties, but we don't know if that's the case at the moment.
How Did Microsoft Admit to the Breach?
Originally FCEB or the Federal Civilian Executive Branch detected unauthorized activity on Microsoft 365 cloud environments in June of 2023. The organization reported the issue to Microsoft as well as the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. Since the report, Microsoft has been enhancing security and making follow-up reports explaining the situation and how security is evolving to handle the focused attacks.
What Will Become of the Stolen Information?
If Microsoft and the US Government are correct, the information stolen will be used for business purposes. The data may be used to gain an economic advantage or to edge out the market. There is no clear way to know how the data will be utilized without knowing what information was stolen. We suspect the attack could be costly for some of the companies involved, but we're still waiting to hear more about the impact it's had on these businesses or if personal or medical data was involved.
What Should Affected Parties Do in the Aftermath of the Breach?
If your business was directly targeted in this attack, you should take immediate action to try and enhance your company's security and to minimize any damage done. Inform any employees or customers that may have lost information in this attack as well. If you receive a notice explaining your personal information was involved in one of these breaches, you should invest in credit monitoring services and consider freezing your credit to safeguard it from identity theft attacks.