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U.S. says recent Microsoft breach exposed federal agencies to hacking

The U.S. government said Thursday that Russian government hackers who recently stole Microsoft corporate emails had obtained passwords and other secret material that might allow them to breach multiple U.S. agencies.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, an arm of the Department of Homeland Security, on Tuesday issued a rare binding directive to an undisclosed number of agencies requiring them to change any log-ins that were taken and investigate what else might be at risk. The directive was made public Thursday, after recipients had begun shoring up their defenses.

The "successful compromise of Microsoft corporate email accounts and the exfiltration of correspondence between agencies and Microsoft presents a grave and unacceptable risk to agencies," CISA wrote. "This Emergency Directive requires agencies to analyze the content of exfiltrated emails, reset compromised credentials, and take additional steps to ensure authentication tools for privileged Microsoft Azure accounts are secure."


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