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Latest Microsoft Hack Opens Door For New OZ Attacks

Australian businesses who use Office 365 or Microsoft’s Exchange email service are facing new security threats as hackers and ransomware groups take advantage of a major hack on Microsoft servers that resulted in a free-for-all as hackers hunt down unpatched email servers to attack.

Right round the world Microsoft servers have been exposed with one problem being ransomware groups who are using the flaw to install malicious programs.

Once these programs are installed the perpetrators locks away a user’s data behind strong encryption, making the computer system unusable.

The group then demands payment to unlock it – and if demands are not met, will steal, or delete the data.

Initially, the flaw was being exploited by a hacking group to gain remote access to email servers, from which it could steal sensitive data.

But after Microsoft warned the world it had identified the problem and urged all its users to download a new security updates, other hacking groups quickly became familiar with the flaw.

The UK National Cyber Security Centre said it estimated 7,000 servers had been affected by the flaw and only half had been secured.

The agency said it was “vital” that all affected businesses took action to secure their email servers.

The announcement reveals the scale of the problem among companies for the first time since the global security flaw emerged last week claimed the BBC.

The NCSC is particularly concerned about small and medium-sized businesses that may not have heard about the issue.

“We are working closely with industry and international partners to understand the scale and impact of the exposure, but it is vital that all organisations take immediate steps to protect their networks,” NCSC’s director for operations Paul Chichester warned.

“While this work is ongoing, the most important action is to install the latest Microsoft updates.”

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