In early June, a significant number of Microsoft users encountered severe service disruptions that affected the company’s flagship office suite products. This left them unable to access essential remote-work tools such as Outlook email and OneDrive file-sharing apps.
Initially, the cause of these sporadic disruptions remained unclear, as stated in tweets by the company at the time. However, Microsoft has now identified the source of the outages. The software giant revealed that a cybercriminal group called “Anonymous Sudan,” allegedly linked to Russia, executed a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.
Microsoft attributed the service outages during the week of June 5 to this cybercriminal group in a statement released on its website. While the post was brief on specific details, it acknowledged that the attacks had temporarily impacted the availability of some services. The company also suggested that the attackers focused on creating disruption and gaining publicity. It is believed that they utilized rented cloud infrastructure and virtual private networks to launch the assault, employing botnets composed of compromised computers worldwide.
In its statement, Microsoft referred to the attackers as “Storm-1359,” a term it uses for unestablished groups. However, a Microsoft representative informed media that the group known as Anonymous Sudan was responsible for the attacks.
Fortunately, Microsoft has confirmed that no customer data was accessed or compromised during the cyberattack. The company has yet to respond to CBS MoneyWatch’s request for comment.
Although DDoS attacks primarily disrupt website accessibility without penetrating them, security experts caution that they can still cause significant disruptions to the work of millions of people, especially when targeting popular tech services.
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Gil Messing, Chief of Staff at software and security firm Check Point, explained that DDoS attacks are impactful in terms of consumer usage, rendering websites inaccessible. However, he emphasized that they are not sophisticated attacks.
Following the attack, Microsoft implemented various measures to enhance its defence against future DDoS attacks. The company stated that it has “tuned” its Azure Web Application Firewall, which acts as a protective barrier against potential attacks.
Cybersecurity experts believe that Microsoft needs to maintain these precautions to deter future attackers who may be encouraged by the success of Anonymous Sudan’s assault. Steven Adair, President of cybersecurity firm Volexity, conveyed this sentiment to CBS MoneyWatch.
In conclusion, Microsoft users experienced service disruptions caused by a cyberattack, which the company attributed to the group known as Anonymous Sudan. Microsoft has taken steps to reinforce its defences against future DDoS attacks, recognizing the need for continued vigilance in safeguarding its systems.