Those Delays Online Were Actually Cyberattacks, Microsoft Says

Those Delays Online Were Actually Cyberattacks, Microsoft Says

( – Did you get frustrated earlier this month when your Microsoft Office apps stopped working? On and off problems with the popular software disrupted work for many users. Now, the company has admitted hackers were responsible.

On June 5 users of several Microsoft 365 office apps, including Outlook, Teams, SharePoint and OneDrive, started experiencing service problems. By 11 a.m. Eastern, around 18,000 users — which may have included large business networks — were reporting service outages. The problems continued for the rest of the week, peaking on June 8, when OneDrive, Microsoft’s cloud storage app, went down worldwide.

At first Microsoft focused on fixing the disruption and didn’t say what had caused it, but the company finally admitted on June 16 that the services had been hit by a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. Microsoft issued a blog post through its Security Response Center (MSRC) saying the disruption had been caused by an unknown hacker group codenamed Storm-1359. The post said the hackers probably used a range of off the shelf or rented tools to flood Microsoft servers with traffic, disrupting the service for users. However, according to MSRC, there’s no evidence customer data was compromised. This is typical for a DDoS attack; rather than penetrating a network’s security, these efforts simply overload its ability to move data.

Microsoft is recommending that customers use Layer 7 security software, such as firewalls. To protect your own documents, don’t rely on cloud services for your data. Microsoft says OneDrive’s local storage — which stores data on your own hard drive and syncs it with the cloud storage — wasn’t affected by the attack, which is typical. Make sure your data is stored on your own device as well as in the cloud. Also, make sure your security software is kept updated and don’t open links in emails from anyone you don’t recognize.

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