Earlier this month, Microsoft experienced a disruption in its Microsoft 365 suite, which includes Outlook, Word, and Excel, affecting thousands of users. Downdetector, an outage tracking website, reported the outage. On June 5, Microsoft 365 Status account tweeted about the incident and reassured users that the situation was resolved the following day. However, Microsoft continued to investigate the cause of the outage and has now determined that it was the result of a Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack.
In a blog post, Microsoft stated, “Beginning in early June 2023, Microsoft identified surges in traffic against some services that temporarily impacted availability. Microsoft promptly opened an investigation and subsequently began tracking ongoing DDoS activity by the threat actor that Microsoft tracks as Storm-1359.”
A DDoS attack is a type of cyberattack where hackers intentionally overload a server, service, or network with internet traffic in an attempt to disrupt normal operations.
Microsoft further explained, “These attacks likely rely on access to multiple virtual private servers (VPS) in conjunction with rented cloud infrastructure, open proxies, and DDoS tools.”
Group believed to be Russian
The Associated Press reported that Microsoft confirmed the responsible group behind the attacks is Anonymous Sudan, as claimed by the group itself on its Telegram social media channel. Some security researchers speculate that the group may have ties to Russia.
No details were provided on the number of affected customers or whether the impact was global. Microsoft assured users that there is no evidence of customer data being accessed or compromised.
According to Microsoft, the DDoS activity targeted layer 7, rather than layer 3 or 4. “Microsoft hardened layer 7 protections including tuning Azure Web Application Firewall (WAF) to better protect customers from the impact of similar DDoS attacks,” the company stated.
During the attack, several users reported issues with their Outlook desktop application, particularly with sending emails. The problem affected both Windows and macOS users.
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Deepak Sen is a tech enthusiast who covers the latest technological innovations, from AI to consumer gadgets. His articles provide readers with a glimpse into the ever-evolving world of technology.