U.S. Senator Blasts Microsoft for Chinese Hack

Microsoft is held accountable for its poor cybersecurity procedures, which let China carry out a successful espionage campaign against the US government.

In a letter to the directors of the Department of Justice, Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), U.S. Senator Ron Wyden stated that Microsoft “bears significant responsibility for this new incident.”

An Overview of the Chinese Hack

A joint alert from the FBI and CISA concerning a hacking campaign that targeted Microsoft customers, including government entities, was released on July 12.

Press sources claim that “at least hundreds of thousands of individual U.S. government emails” were taken, and that the email accounts of the secretary of commerce, the ambassador of the United States to China, and the assistant secretary of state for East Asia were among those that were affected.

According to Microsoft, the breach happened as a result of hackers obtaining an encryption key that the company had created for its identification service, Microsoft Account (MSA).

Microsoft made another mistake, which led to the theft of government emails. Although the encryption key was for consumer accounts, “a validation error in Microsoft code” allowed the hackers to access accounts for government agencies and other organizations that were hosted by Microsoft by making fake tokens for such accounts.

Wyden’s List OfMicrosoft’sCybersecurity Flaws

First, according to Wyden’s letter, Microsoft shouldn’t have had a single skeleton key that, in the event of theft, might be used to get access to various customers’ private conversations.

Secondly, he said, high-value encryption keys should be kept in an HSM, whose main purpose is to prevent encryption key theft, as Microsoft noted in a recent SolarWinds incident.

Third, the encryption key that was utilized in this most recent attack was made by Microsoft in 2016 and it expired in 2021.

As a final point, although Microsoft’s engineers shouldn’t have released systems that broke such fundamental cybersecurity rules, Microsoft’s internal and external security audits ought to have discovered these issues, he said.

“These flaws were not detected raises questions about what other serious cybersecurity defects these auditors also missed”, he said.

“While Microsoft certainly deserves most of the blame, the executive branch also bears responsibility”.

Wyden asked for many investigations to look into why Microsoft neglected its security recommendations.

Additionally, he urges directors to take all necessary actions to hold the business accountable for any violations of that orders.

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