Hackers Behind SolarWinds Attack Gained Access to Microsoft’s Internal Systems

17 Janvier, 2021, 17:33 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • SolarWinds hackers accessed Microsoft source code in a number of repositories

Microsoft said initially that it had discovered the trojaned SolarWinds updates in its network and later expanded on that, saying that the attackers did not have access to customer data or production systems.

Microsoft stated that it believed at first that it had blocked the intrusion but some "unusual activity" on a "small number" of employee accounts raised alarms at the firm.

FirstEye, which discovered the attack, revealed that the SolarWinds Orion software which is used by various organizations including several USA government agencies was exploited by the malware.

The company further said, "The account did not have permissions to modify any code or engineering systems and "our investigation further confirmed no changes were made". Microsoft said earlier this month that it had identified more than 40 government agencies, think tanks, non-governmental organizations and IT companies infiltrated by hackers. "These accounts were investigated and remediated".

According to Microsoft, this doesn't put the security or services or customer data at risk, and the company was only disclosing this in the interest of transparency.

Previously, media reports suggested that some of Microsoft's own tools has been used by the hackers, but Microsoft quickly threw cold water on that assertion.

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But Microsoft officials said Friday that the SolarWinds attackers accessed some of the company's source code. Given Microsoft's dominance in the IT space, such a compromise could be devastating to many more organizations.

The country's top cybersecurity agency has already restructured and updated its official guidance for handling the consequences following the SolarWinds supply chain attack. "It's clear the United States government missed it", he further added.

Tracking down the breadth of the attack will be hard enough, but rooting the Russians out of government networks will require a massive effort. American investigators are now examining if the incursion originated where Russian intelligence operatives are deeply rooted.

The Times reports that initial estimates of just a few dozen of the 18,000 SolarWinds Orion customers using the application in question were affected, but that number has grown quickly.

The report also mentions that evidences suggest that Russian Federation exploited several layers of the supply chain to intrude the systems of the agencies. The Department of Homeland Security's Einstein sensors failed to flag suspicious activity, and the government's focus on election security, combined with SolarWinds' "lackluster security for its products", likely contributed to the failure to detect the breach for more than a year after the infiltration began.

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