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Recent Data Breach May Affect Hotmail And Outlook Users

By May 6, 2019May 19th, 2022Cybersecurity

Microsoft recently confirmed that the login credentials of one of its customer support agents was compromised.

This allows unknown third parties to log in and gain access to data contained in an unspecified number of users’ Hotmail and Outlook email accounts. The exposure occurred between January 1 and March 28 of this year (2019).

When news of the breach first emerged, the company issued a statement that read, in part, as follows:

“We have identified that a Microsoft support agent’s credentials were compromised, enabling individuals outside Microsoft to access information within your Microsoft email account. This unauthorized access could have allowed unauthorized parties to access and/or view information related to your email account (such as your email address, folder names, the subject lines of emails, and the names of other email addresses you communicate with), but not the content of any emails or attachments…it is important to note that your login credentials were not directly impacted by this incident.”

In our view, the last line is the most important in the formal statement.  The hackers were able to glean some information from an unknown number of accounts, but they did so by proxy through the lens of a compromised support account, and not by stealing actual login credentials of users.

Since the company’s announcement, there have been conflicting reports that suggest the breach may have been more serious than Microsoft is currently claiming.  As such, our recommendation is that if you have a Hotmail or an account, the best course of action would be to exercise an abundance of caution and change your password right away.  It’s far better to be safe than sorry.

Also be aware that since hackers may have gleaned your email address as a result of their snooping, you are somewhat more likely to be on the receiving end of phishing emails in the weeks and months ahead.  Be on your guard against that.

Jason Manteiga

Jason J. Manteiga, Vice President of Olmec Systems, has been part of the company for over the past 20 years. He believes that having a great work environment and supportive team, is the ultimate key to success. Since being in the IT realm for over 25 years, Jason, along with Olmec Systems, has been on the Inc. 5000 “List of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies” and Channel Futures MSP 501 “Top Managed Service Providers in North America,” along with other awards and nominations. Jason earned his Bachelor Degree in Information Systems from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He also holds certifications in Microsoft MCSE, VMWare VCP, and Cisco CCNA. In his spare time, Jason is a contributor for The Center for Social & Legal Research (Privacy Exchange) and a member of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. His hobbies include cycling and kayaking. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife, two daughters and son.