Daily Buzz: Microsoft Outlook’s Bad Breach
Hackers gained access to an undisclosed number of Microsoft Outlook accounts
A saga involving a widely used email service highlights the challenges of customer service—both in creating security risks and reporting them to consumers.
Hackers gained access to an undisclosed number of Microsoft Outlook accounts earlier this year, the company revealed to users on Friday. It said the breach gave outside parties access to users’ email addresses, folders, and subject lines.
Microsoft later notified about 6 percent of affected Outlook users that the contents of their emails may have also been exposed—an admission that wasn’t made public until screenshot evidence showed that some people were at higher risk.
A customer service intervention may have exacerbated the problem: The Verge reports that a Microsoft support agent’s credentials were compromised, which allowed unauthorized access to some accounts.
When asked, the software giant wouldn’t say how many accounts might have been breached but confirmed that affected users are receiving additional guidance and support. “Our notification to the majority of those impacted noted that bad actors would not have had unauthorized access to the content of emails or attachments,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement to The Verge.
Still, the situation underscores an important lesson for associations: Be direct and honest with your customers, especially when their welfare (and loyalty) is at risk.
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