Cyberattack on MS Outlook infects thousands of systems across the U.S.

Cyberattack on MS Outlook infects thousands of systems across the U.S.

A cyberattack on Microsoft Outlook software has reportedly affected tens of thousands of government offices, schools, and businesses in the United States. Sources knowledgeable of the matter cite that most of the victims of the attack appear to be small enterprises as well as local and state governments.

The attack was suspected to have been executed by a network of hackers from China, stated Microsoft. While estimates of victims at the global level were imprecise and varied broadly as of Friday, 5th March 2021. Tens of thousands of clients are believed to have been impacted, with the number anticipated to be larger than 250,000.

According to Steven Adair, the founder of Volexity, Inc., one of the companies that Microsoft accredited with reporting the matter, the shortcomings in Microsoft’s Exchange software were utilized in a really surreptitious manner so that they did not ring any alarm bells.

The attack was publicized by Microsoft on Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, and recognized the culprits as a cyberespionage group from China that the company called Hafnium. Microsoft provided a software patch to users for fixing the bugs.

For years, authorities in the U.S. have accused China of extensive hacking against American government agencies and enterprises. China has refused to accept these allegations.

The attack comes after a previous suspected Russian cyberattack on American businesses and U.S. government systems that was disclosed in December 2020. However, that attack, which involved breaking into SolarWinds, a networking-software company, constituted a surgical strike that broke into nearly nine government agencies and 100 companies.

By contrast, the recent incident seemed less coordinated and haphazard, infecting tens of thousands of victims or more. While several of those impacted by the current attack likely hold little intelligence value on account of the targets of the attack, it is speculated to have netted greater-value espionage targets as well, stated one of sources.

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Sunil Jha

Sunil Jha has been a part of the content industry for close to two years. Having previously worked as a voice over artist and sportswriter, he now focuses on writing articles for, across a slew of topics, ranging from technology to trade and finance. With a business-oriented educational background, Sunil brings forth the expertise of deep-dive research and a strategic approach in his write ups.