“An investigation into the SolarWinds attack by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency found that in some cases hackers were able to gain network access by cracking passwords…”
The fallout from the infamous SolarWinds hack attack continues to spin out new revelations, with Microsoft revealing that its own investigation into the matter has led to the discovery of another security breach.
The tech giant had been looking into a state-affiliated hacking group that it calls “Nobelium”, which it identified as an actor involved in the SolarWinds affair – a large-scale, headline-grabbing hack attack in which IT software used by a number of government agencies and other enterprise clients was infected with malware. Microsoft found that Nobelium hackers managed to gain access to one of its customer service agents, which had access to certain Microsoft customers’ billing information.
Upon discovering the hack, Microsoft sent an advisory to customers, and revealed that the hackers used information gleaned in the attack to perform further, “highly-targeted” attacks.
The company is now working with officials from Homeland Security to further investigate the attack, though a White House official has already downplayed its impact, saying it “appears to be largely unsuccessful, run-of-the-mill espionage.”
In any case, the revelation may further pressure IT decision makers in both the private and public sectors to implement stronger, post-password authentication methods such as biometrics. An investigation into the SolarWinds attack by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency found that in some cases hackers were able to gain network access by cracking passwords; and months after that CISA report was issued, President Joe Biden signed an executive order mandating that federal agencies implement multi-factor authentication and encryption.
Microsoft has indicated that the Nobelium breach had occurred in the second half of May, and that it is aware of three entities affected by the breach; but the company has otherwise been tight-lipped concerning further details.
June 30, 2021 – by Alex Perala