Posted on April 30, 2019 at 2:24 PM
It has barely been a week since the full details of the Outlook and Hotmail email hack have been made public and the embarrassment that Microsoft faces is becoming greater and greater. At the time the news story broke, Microsoft had let hackers gain total control of their retail support back end. The company came clean but didn’t know what the hackers were looking for.
That changed today when customers have started complaining, publically, about their cryptocurrency going missing. Now everyone knows what the hackers are doing and the nightmare Microsoft thought was behind them is being stirred up anew.
The story so far
Vice’s sub-publication Motherboard broke a news story earlier this month about the email hacks at Microsoft. Hackers had gained control of a support worker’s credentials to retail MSN, Hotmail and Outlook accounts. The types of email account one would use for normal online services.
They then used the credentials to look ta email metadata and even in some cases the emails directly. While this was discovered via an anonymous source, Microsoft at the time the story broke out denied that anyone had access to the emails themselves. This did not last long before a public outcry forced the company to acknowledge that emails had been read.
However, the Redmond based company did say that they were unable to see what the perpetrators of the hack were using their illicit access for. The company also reassured their enterprise and corporate level clients that those accounts were 100% safe and that no one had any access to them.
Crypto is missing; password resets to blame
Jevon Ritmeester, who uses one of the Microsoft services as his primary crypto e-mail, says that the hackers had gotten into his Kraken.com account using the information that they had access to in his email.
“The hackers also had access to my inbox allowing them to password reset my Kraken.com account and withdrawal my Bitcoin.”
Jevon provided proof to Motherboard in the form of emails from Microsoft saying that his account had been compromised. He also showed that the hacker had set up a rule that any email mentioning Kraken would automatically be forwarded to a Gmail address. The emails that were forwarded to the address that is presumed to be held by the hackers would be password reset emails and Bitcoin withdrawal requests.
He had only found them after checking his trash when he received the breach notification from Microsoft. He alleges that he has lost 1 BTC so far, which amounts to around $5000 dollars at the current exchange rate. He is, unfortunately, not the only person who lost money during this breach.
A user on Reddit, going by the moniker shinratechlabs, posted that they had lost 25 000 in crypto due to the Microsoft email breach. The user never mentioned whether it was 25000 coins of a particular currency or if that was the fiat equivalent of cryptocurrency.
Yet another Reddit user replied to the thread created by shinratechlabs saying the same had happened to them, though with much less lost. Many industry veterans have said that this would not have been an issue for the people who were robbed had they bothered to turn on 2 Factor Authentication. Indeed, Jevon himself says that his account would probably be more secure had he thought to make use of the 2FA that Kraken offers its users.
Ritmeester feels that Microsft is not taking the breach seriously enough and claims that they are trying to cover it up and keep it on the down low. He particularly pointed to their lies in the first instance when they said that no emails had been accessed. That was disproven later on, and the company had to retract its earlier statements.
Jevin says that he will be filing a police report soon enough, and is considering holding Microsft liable for the damages he suffered as a result of the breach in their security.