Microsoft clarified that this "affected a limited subset of consumer accounts" and that the malicious activity began at the start of January 2019 and ran through to nearly the end of March, so essentially lasted three months.
The technology giant said a "limited" number of accounts had been affected by the breach, but confirmed around 6% of those involved may have seen the content of their e-mails become accessible to the attackers.
The hack is apparently the effect of hackers gaining access to customer support account for Outlook.com, a tool that does give support agents full access to Outlook.com emails.
Microsoft has confirmed that hackers were able to read email from Microsoft's Outlook, MSN and Hotmail email services, Motherboard reported this week.
A "limited" number of people had their accounts compromised in a breach that took place between January 1st and March 28th, according to Microsoft.
"We addressed this scheme, which affected a limited subset of consumer accounts, by disabling the compromised credentials and blocking the perpetrators' access", a Microsoft spokesperson told Motherboard.
An unknown number of Microsoft Corp. email account users, including those using Outlook and Hotmail, may have had details of emails stolen in a hack that lasted from January 1 to March 28.
Why Microsoft would first deny that the content of victims' emails had been accessed, then when confronted with evidence to the contrary change its statement, was not immediately clear. They also claim that the hack lasted at least six months, doubling the period of vulnerability that Microsoft has claimed.
The support account would also have only had access to free Outlook.com/Hotmail/MSN-branded accounts, and not to paid Office 365 email. Although Microsoft says that login details and personal information couldn't have been stolen through this particular approach, the company is advising you mix up your password anyway for the hell of it, too.
Microsoft did not respond to multiple requests for additional comment.
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