Microsoft Outlook email service security compromised: Should you be worried?

Microsoft's official email service Outlook security has been breached and the users, are hereby are warned of hackers, who might attempt phishing attack.

It has come to light that Microsoft support agent's credentials were compromised and the cybercriminals might have gained unauthorised access to the Outlook server between January 1 and March 28. It is believed that the hackers would have stolen users' e-mail ID, folder names, the subject lines of the subject line of the conversation they had with the receiver and the latter's e-mail ID addresses.

However, Microsoft has assured Outlook users that the cybercriminals were not able to view the contents of the attached file.

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The Microsoft logo is shown on the Microsoft Theatre at the E3 2017 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, California, U.S. June 13, 2017 Mike Blake/Reuters

Should Microsoft Outlook Users Be Worried?

Yes! They should be and it is advisable for the Microsoft Outlook users to reset their email ID immediately. Also, he/she should be vigilant of unknown individuals sending emails and who may probe for financial details, which the user should not divulge at any cost.

"Microsoft regrets any inconvenience caused by this issue. Please be assured that Microsoft takes data protection very seriously and has engaged it's internal security and privacy teams in the investigation and resolution of the issue, as well as additional hardening of systems and processes to prevent such recurrence," Microsoft said to the affected user via email.

Here's How You Can Thwart Phishing Attacks:

  • To protect yourself from a phishing attack, make sure you have reputable anti-virus software on your PC and phones
  • Also, keep your email app on the mobile updated at all times (Google/Microsoft regularly releases anti-phishing security patches for Gmail/Outlook on both Android and iOS versions)
  • Never respond to emails from an unknown person and it goes without saying, never click the URL links present in that mail
  • If you have downloaded a file from a mail, make sure to scan it again with the anti-virus app
  • If email sender is not related to you or your work. Tag the mail as spam and block them.
  • Make sure you have registered your mobile number with the bank so that you get credit/debit alerts every transaction you make
  • Never ever open a website with non-https URL (Uniform Resource Locator)
  • Never ever divulge User ID, Password, OTP, URN, Debit Card Grid values with anyone on email or SMS
  • Always remember no bank or Income Tax (IT) official will ever ask you to divulge bank card or credit card details on a phone call or an SMS or an email. If there is an issue, you should always go to your bank branch or nearest IT office for enquiry. You can even call toll-free IT number for any query you have.

If you have received a mail from Microsoft about the Outlook email service security compromise, please share your thoughts in the comments section about what the company should and did you find our suggestions on how to thwart phishing helpful or not?