Economy

Microsoft admits 'Russian' hackers went beyond malicious SolarWinds code

Microsoft admits 'Russian' hackers went beyond malicious SolarWinds code”

The massive hack on USA government systems also included a breach of Microsoft source code, the company announced today.

It is not clear how much or what parts of Microsoft's source code repositories the hackers were able to access, but the disclosure suggests that the hackers who used software company SolarWinds as a springboard to break into sensitive US government networks also had an interest in discovering the inner workings of Microsoft products as well. The hack allowed the hackers to access the Treasury, Commerce, Energy and State departments of these agencies which could have led to a disastrous outcome. Microsoft did not disclose the type of source code that was tapped into, Ellen Nakashima of The Washington Post writes.

The company argues that viewing that source code "isn't tied to elevation of risk" given that Microsoft has "an open source-like culture [and makes] source code viewable within Microsoft".

Microsoft Corp. said the suspected Russian hackers behind the stunning breach of numerous USA government agencies also accessed the company's internal source code, although no customer data or services were compromised. Microsoft is a customer of SolarWinds, the IT provider the hackers exploited to send software updates to numerous USA government agencies. But, the account did not have permissions to modify any code or engineering systems and its investigation further confirmed no changes were made.

Microsoft has previously reported that, like other tech firms in the U.S., it had found malicious versions of SolarWind's software inside its network. "These accounts were investigated and remediated", Microsoft stated in a blog post.

Previously, Microsoft had detected malicious SolarWinds applications in its environment, which it isolated and removed.

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Microsoft has found no evidence of access to production services or customer data and no indications that its systems were used to attack others.

Microsoft has discovered that its systems were infiltrated "beyond just the presence of malicious SolarWinds code".

Russian Federation has denied having any role in the hacking.

However, Microsoft previously acknowledged that it mistakenly and unknowingly downloaded a software patch cyber Russian spies use as a potential "back door" into their target's systems.

Microsoft President Brad Smith said last month that they have identified more than 40 customers who have been affected by nation-state hackers who installed malware in SolarWinds' Orion platform.



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