Here’s what is known about the hack so far:
Who is behind it?
Though Hafnium is believed to be based in China, it usually strikes using virtual private servers based in the United States, Microsoft said. The company referred to the group as “a highly skilled and sophisticated actor.”
A spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the country “firmly opposes and fights all forms of cyber-attacks and thefts in accordance with the law.”
Who was targeted?
As of Saturday, there were an estimated 30,000 affected customers in the United States and 250,000 globally, though those numbers could increase, a US official told CNN.
The hack is mainly a concern for business and government customers that use Microsoft’s Exchange Server product. Microsoft said it has “no evidence that Hafnium’s activities targeted individual consumers or that these exploits impact other Microsoft products.”
It has said the cloud-based Exchange Online and Microsoft 365 products were not affected.
What is the goal of the hack?
The attack gave hackers access to the email systems of targeted organizations. Once the Hafnium attackers compromise an organization, Microsoft said, they have been known to steal data such as emails and address books, and to gain access to its user account database.
Hackers could also install additional malware to facilitate ongoing, long-term access to victims’ systems, including files, inboxes and credentials stored there.
What is being done about it?
The CISA last week warned that if not addressed, the malicious activity could “enable an attacker to gain control of an entire enterprise network.”
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