Microsoft Corp. has told more than a dozen state agencies and public universities in Texas that Russian state-sponsored hackers accessed emails between them and the software company.

The attackers were able to gain access to communications through a Microsoft breach, disclosed in January, in which they stole the emails of some of the company’s executives. Agencies that Microsoft alerted to the attack include the Texas Department of Transportation, the Texas Workforce Commission, the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, the Texas General Land Office and the Texas State Securities Board, according to a person familiar with the matter. According to who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to discuss it.

Microsoft has blamed the attack on a hacking group it calls Midnight Blizzard, which is linked to Russian intelligence services.

Read more: More Microsoft users learn Russian hackers saw their emails

The state and Microsoft are still evaluating the impact of the breach. Steve Pierre, an official with the Texas Cybersecurity Agency, acknowledged the release of the state emails on Friday, but said so far they appear to be routine administrative communications.

News of Texas agencies affected by the Microsoft hack offers a stark view of the extent of the compromise, and raises concerns about an American adversary that could potentially compromise employees, finances or the nation’s most populous nation. and can gain access to sensitive information about critical infrastructure. Economically important states

“To be clear, the state of Texas was not breached. Microsoft was breached, including some Texas state emails,” Peyer of the Texas Department of Information Resources said in a statement. . He said his agency first heard about the exposure from Microsoft this week and was still assessing the number of organizations affected.

Microsoft declined to say which users were receiving notices about the attack. “We will continue to coordinate, support and assist our customers in taking mitigation measures,” a company spokesperson said Friday.

Microsoft told the General Land Office on Monday that hackers had intercepted 11 of its emails to the technology giant, according to Texas agency spokeswoman Kimberly Hubbard, who said the messages were mostly about technical support.

“There was nothing in these emails that contained sensitive or confidential information or information that could allow a threat actor to attack us,” Hubbard said. “We have not seen any signs of system access or resulting attacks on our network related to this Microsoft incident.

Workforce Commission spokeswoman Sarah Fisher said Microsoft told the agency on Wednesday that its “email systems were compromised” but did not say what access the hackers gained.

Representatives for the Department of Transportation and the Securities Board did not respond to requests for comment Friday. A spokesman for the Department of Motor Vehicles declined to comment.

In January, Microsoft announced that hackers had stolen the emails of senior leaders they were using to try to break into customer communications, including those of government agencies. Company this week Told additional customers That their emails were accessed by hackers, and began providing previously notified clients with details of what had been taken.

The company blamed the breach on a group that US and UK officials have said is part of the Russian foreign intelligence service. Midnight Blizzard is also known as APT 29 and Cozy Bear.

Read more: Low-profile ‘cosy bear’ linked to hacks on Covid vaccine research

It is unclear how many other Microsoft clients were exposed. In April, US federal agencies were ordered to analyze emails, reset compromised credentials and work to secure Microsoft cloud accounts, amid concerns that hackers had accessed the correspondence. has done

Read more: Microsoft pledges to overhaul cybersecurity after massive hack

The fallout from the breach comes as the Redmond, Washington-based company faces high-profile and damaging security failures that have been strongly condemned by the US government.

In April, a government review board issued a Alarming report who criticized Microsoft for having an “inadequate” security culture and quoted Midnight Blizzard as saying the company has yet to fix the problem. Microsoft is in the midst of its biggest security push yet. Overhaul In decades

Copyright 2024 Bloomberg.


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