Microsoft Outlook down after reported hack


Microsoft Outlook was down for thousands of American users Monday after pro-Russian hacktivist group Anonymous Sudan claims to have started a new campaign dedicated to targeting US companies and infrastructure.

The Sudan-based hacker gang began posting images of its alleged handi-work on the group's encrypted Telegram channel around 10 AM ET Monday morning.

About the same time, Outlook users began posting on Twitter about issues loading the Microsoft 365 information management platform.

The monitoring site Downdetector reported the Microsoft service was out for about 15,000 users.

"What's going on here @Outlook - are you down?" tweeted one user.

Another Twitter user described the outage as complete chaos.

"It's happened. Monday broke @Outlook. Drafts are disappearing, scheduled emails are shuffling between drafts and outbox. It's chaos." the user tweeted.

Microsoft tweeted back with a canned response, claiming technical difficulties to most queries.

"Hi there. We're very sorry for the inconvenience this has caused. We have made the proper team aware of this issue, and we are working to get you back up and running as soon as possible. We appreciate your patience," Outlook said.

Meanwhile, the hour and a half morning outage all documented by complaints on Twitter clearly coincided with the timing of the Anonymous Sudan targeting claims.

The group posted a lengthy message after it "downed outlook for an hour," and then held it "for another half an hour," before stopping the attack according to when the group felt "satisfied" the site had been down long enough.

"❗️Microsoft, the fate of your services is under our hands, we decide when to shut it down and when to leave it open," Anonymous Sudan said.

"We can target any US company we want. Americans, do not blame us, blame your government for thinking about intervening in Sudanese internal affairs," the group threatened.

"We hope you enjoyed it, Microsoft," the message ended.

Anonymous Sudan Outlook
Anonymous Sudan Telegram channel

To provide context to its followers, the group specifically singled out US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the attack.

Blinken made a visit to Saudi Arabia last week to discuss strategic ways to handle the crisis in Sudan.

The US Secretary also announced economic sanctions for various entities in Sudan, including the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and Rapid Support Forces (RSF), in response to recent “looting, occupation of and attacks on civilian residences and infrastructure.”

Over the weekend, the hacktivist group went after the ride-sharing company Lyft as part of the anti-American campaign, as well as several regional hospitals, including Lovelace Health Systems in New Mexico, Hudson Regional Hospital in New Jersey, and Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire.

The websites of all three healthcare organizations were working at the time of this report.

Cybernews also confirmed Lyft's website was running normally since the June 3rd outage was reported by customers on Twitter and by Downdetector.

Anonymous Sudan has been making waves since coming on the hacktivist scene this January with its repeated distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on multiple high-profile targets, including Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the shadowy Mossad.

The group has been relentlessly targeting SAS Airlines through several separate attacks: the first as part of a coordinated Valentine's Day attack against Sweden and, most recently, in another ongoing campaign, this time directly against the flagship carrier, launched May 24th.

The two-week-long attack (so far) has seen Anonymous Sudan badger SAS Airlines with intermittent outages and ransom demands, all because the group was "bored."

The somewhat theatrical saga follows a ransom demand that started off at only $3500, but then increased dramatically four separate times to its now current ask of $10 million.

The gang has also targeted NATO earlier this year in an organized campaign with fellow pro-Russian hacker groups, KillNet and UserSec.

Anonymous Sudan said on Telegram they plan to re-attack Microsoft again Monday evening.

Anonymous Sudan microsoft
Anonymous Sudan Telegram channel

Outlook is the world's third-most popular email client, with about 400 million active users. Microsoft services have faced at least three outages since the start of 2023.

Microsoft has not commented on the outage reports by Anonymous Sudan. Cybernews will follow the story.



Comments

johnbishop
prefix 1 year ago
was nothing to do with this.
i like how they think they caused this but they didnt, they're lying and just piggybacked on an outage caused by something else.
Deng Li
prefix 1 year ago
Anonymous Sudan is a front for Russian government hackers. The entire continent of Africa lacks a single hacker capable of breeching Microsoft. China and Russia are now sharing exploits to help them hack western enterprises. They must be held accountable.
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