Microsoft says law enforcement documents likely stolen by hackers

Social media and email accounts of some Microsoft employees were hit by phishing attacks, the company said

Documents linked with law enforcement inquiries appear to have been stolen in recent phishing attacks on certain employee email accounts, Microsoft said.

The technology giant said earlier this month that a small number of Microsoft employee social media and email accounts had been impacted in a phishing attack. The accounts were reset and no customer information was compromised, Microsoft said.

On Friday, Adrienne Hall, general manager in Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing Group, said in a blog post that it appeared that documents associated with law enforcement inquiries were stolen. "If we find that customer information related to those requests has been compromised, we will take appropriate action," Hall said.

The company will, however, not comment on the validity of any stolen emails or documents in deference to "the privacy of our employees and customers -- as well as the sensitivity of law enforcement inquiries," she added.

Microsoft said its investigation continues, and that the type of attack was not uncommon, as many companies face phishing attempts from cybercriminals.

The company has been recently targeted by the Syrian Electronic Army, a hacker group that supports the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. SEA attacked this month the social media properties of Skype and other Microsoft social media and blogs, including the Microsoft Office Blogs site.

In a message on Twitter, SEA accused Microsoft of selling customer data to governments, which was probably a reference to disclosures last year by former U.S. National Security Agency contractor, Edward Snowden, that Internet companies were allegedly providing access to real-time customer data to the agency.

Microsoft receives requests for customer data from law enforcement agencies around the world relating to Microsoft online and cloud services. Some of these are covered under "gag orders," which do not allow the company to disclose to the public the existence of the specific requests.

In March last year it started publishing its Law Enforcement Requests Report, which listed the total number of requests it receives from law enforcement agencies in countries around the world and the number of potentially affected accounts identified in those requests. Microsoft, Google and some other Internet companies have asked the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for permission to provide aggregate data on security information requests under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which they are currently disallowed.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MicrosoftSyrian Electronic Army

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Skywatcher Dobsonian 8″ Collapsible Telescope

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Whodunnit™ Duo-Scope MFL-007 Microscope Kit

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Logitech Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?