Has Microsoft Been Hacked?

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 22, 2022
Updated • Mar 23, 2022
Added Microsoft's confirmation of the issue.

Microsoft is investigating claims that internal source code repositories have been accessed and data has been stolen.

source Tom Malka

The alleged hack is linked to the hacking group Lapsus$, which attacked companies such as Nvidia, Samsung and Vodafone in the past successfully.

Update: Microsoft published an official statement on its Microsoft Security website confirming the issue.

This week, the actor made public claims that they had gained access to Microsoft and exfiltrated portions of source code. No customer code or data was involved in the observed activities. Our investigation has found a single account had been compromised, granting limited access. Our cybersecurity response teams quickly engaged to remediate the compromised account and prevent further activity. Microsoft does not rely on the secrecy of code as a security measure and viewing source code does not lead to elevation of risk. The tactics DEV-0537 used in this intrusion reflect the tactics and techniques discussed in this blog. Our team was already investigating the compromised account based on threat intelligence when the actor publicly disclosed their intrusion. This public disclosure escalated our action allowing our team to intervene and interrupt the actor mid-operation, limiting broader impact.

End of update.

Evidence of the hack emerged on Sunday evening when Tom Malka published screenshots on Twitter showing a Telegram conversation and what appears to be an internal folder listing of Microsoft source code repositories.

The screenshot suggests that the hackers downloaded source codes of Cortana and several Bing services. The post has been deleted in the meantime. Microsoft told Bleeping Computer that it is investigating the reports.

Unlike most extortion groups, which try to install ransomware on systems that they attack successful, Lapsus$ tries to get a ransom for downloaded data from the companies that it attacked.

The main services that Lapsus$ may have downloaded the source code from appear to be Bing, Bing Maps and Cortana. It is unclear at this point whether the full source codes have been downloaded by the attackers, and whether other Microsoft applications or services are included in the dump.

Source codes may contain valuable information. The code may be analyzed for security vulnerabilities that hacking groups may exploit. There is also the chance that source codes include valuable items such as code signing certificates, access tokens or API keys. Microsoft has a development policy in place that prohibits the inclusion of such items, Microsoft calls them secrets, in its source codes

The search terms used by the actor indicate the expected focus on attempting to find secrets. Our development policy prohibits secrets in code and we run automated tools to verify compliance.

Lots of uncertainty is surrounding the hack at this moment. Did Lapsus$ manage to breach Microsoft's defenses? Did the group manage to download data, and if it did, what data was downloaded and how complete is it? Bing, Bing Maps and Cortana are not the most important Microsoft services.

Judging by Lapsus$'s track record, it is likely that the reported hack did indeed happen. The question of whether the downloaded data is valuable enough to get a ransom from Microsoft for not publishing it on the Internet is open for debate.

Now You: was Microsoft hacked? What is your take on this? (via Born)

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  1. Doc Fuddled said on June 5, 2022 at 5:03 pm

    Microsoft IS a hack.

  2. Devastator said on March 23, 2022 at 8:32 am

    Next target will be google i think :)

    1. Bob said on May 7, 2022 at 11:51 pm

      Yeah? When do you think that is going to happen? Every MS attack and people commenting or bragging about it is like beating a dead horse, no point at this point.

  3. Mas said on March 22, 2022 at 6:47 pm

    I can’t believe people use their software. I can’t believe there are people who still using Bing. It’s not the first time Bing’s data and user info have been hacked or leaked. At least Google can secure their stuff better. I really feel sorry for people who use Bing.

  4. TheRealBrandon said on March 22, 2022 at 6:36 pm

    Your comment section show how pathetic and out of reality your readers are.

    I mean, there is not even proof of this happening, only a screenshot of a screenshot from a twitter account that means nothing about some telegram discussion.

    And even if true it seems stupid to care, you know, if Nvidia hack/leaking of information by some idiots ‘blackmailing’ Nvidia (Linux fanboys being so butthurt about Nvidia not caring about 0.8% Linux market share) will not really affect anyone or anything, like Nvidia didn’t care to say anything about it and do what the idiots said even with proof of leaking and all that… why would I and anyone care about Microsoft being hacked?

    Seems like some people love having Microsoft rent-free living in their heads, if Windows sucks and Microsoft sucks and everything they do sucks, why is that they never seem to switch and move on and shut up and forget Microsoft exists?

    Of course, I am talking about the clueless ones that believe the “privacy” fairy tale talk, and apparently in this case, pretend like exploits and security issues only exist in few programs/hardware, when the reality is they all have them, and it becomes worse once a computer is connected to the internet, even if you use whatever OS or program or search engine or whatever, it is just stupid to think otherwise.
    Clueless people exist in the world, so not a surprise to find them in your comment section.

    1. Gerold Manders said on April 9, 2022 at 4:20 am

      Hey, TheRealBrandon,

      All systems have their flaws. Perhaps those are caused by lack of vision, early design choices, unexpected trends etc.

      And yes, Linux sure has its flaws as well. But when we are honest, Windows is still the undisputed king of the hill in this regard. Even after 20 years, Microsoft still can’t do printing correctly. Without opening severe back doors, that is.

      Background here:
      Had an old laptop, came with built-in WiFi and a NIC. Manufacturer from all the networking parts decided to drop support and with the next Windows 10 update, the laptop became immediately useless. Being fed up waiting about 30 seconds before any response to any click anywhere in the screen, I tried Linux. Pop!_OS (v20.04) made the laptop perform much better, all hardware was immediately recognized and functioning without any tweaking necessary. And excellent network connectivity, of course.

      Used it as a device to generate background noise (mainly Youtube videos) when working at home for about a year. Then both my (Windows) desktops started to randomly reboot within 5 minutes of each other. Now I had to fall back onto this old laptop as a daily driver. Not accustomed to Linux on the desktop, I went out to buy me a new Windows laptop.

      The new laptop came with Windows 11. What a piece of dirt that is. I liked Windows 8, when it just came out, The change in interface from Windows 7 to 8 to 10 didn’t faze me one bit. Windows 11, however…some things are actually dumb, especially how the context menu is being handled.

      So I am not enjoying my Windows 11 laptop. However, my little old Linux laptop had 90% of all the tools I require for work, ready in its repository. A few clicks later and I was back in action. Windows 11 was Windows 11S, the Microsoft store had maybe 20% of the tools I needed.

      Converting Windows 11 S to a standard Windows 11 Home edition did allow me to download all my tools again, but some didn’t function as well within Windows 11. Because of all that, I bit the bullet and started to use my Linux laptop as a daily driver. See how that goes. That was over 3 months ago.

      Long story, point is that the Linux desktop experience delivered a better and more stable environment, even though there have been some weird glitches in it, I’m not going to lie. To me, those were not as bad as Windows 11 new design idiocies. And if it works for me, it will work for many more than the 0.8%. They just don’t know it yet.

      In a way I was forced to leave my Windows comfort zone and had to get acquainted with the Linux desktop experience. To my surprise, it is/was not nearly as bad as your nay-saying implies. Some elements are worse. But others are better, by far in most cases.

      I will see how well Linux works on my new laptop and if that goes well, I will drop Windows 11 like a brick. For a while now Windows hasn’t been the golden goose it once was. Since Windows 3.1 I have been actively using Windows for work and fun. Maybe in your mind Windows is still laying golden eggs. And that is ok. For you.

      But don’t dare and speak for me or anyone else. I and many others have had flatulence that made more useful noise than you are making with your comment. And then we got rid of that.

    2. Mark said on March 24, 2022 at 7:18 am

      Why would I and anyone care about Microsoft being hacked? Is this a joke? People have their personal photos, their documents in Microsoft servers. So many leaks and hacks in the almightly Microsoft servers the last 2 years including personal data of people. Our data are not safe there. People should know that they should remove their data from this circus.

    3. Anonymous said on March 23, 2022 at 7:33 pm

      MS fanboy calm down lol, your MS baseship confirmed with no shame that this happened.

    4. McCoy said on March 23, 2022 at 4:41 pm

      Thank goodness we have TheRealBrandon to judge us all from his high moral horse. I mean how many obvious statements can you put in a message and somehow think you have something meaningful to say..? Brandon is butthurt by anybody that isn’t Brandon apparently.. a true woke warrior of our time. Bravo. I wonder if you can have a burger without telling everyone around you it’s just meat between some bread and it’s way more expensive than it should be and how CLUELESS everyone but you are..

  5. Gabriel Visan said on March 22, 2022 at 6:34 pm

    Buahahahaha! Secure Boot… TPM 2.0… Intel Core gen. 8 processor… and … in vain. no security.

  6. John G. said on March 22, 2022 at 3:07 pm

    If they have hacked MS they should have downloaded better drivers and better taskbars and better startups and so forth, and made them a more serious company than now! LOL. :]

    1. Matt said on March 22, 2022 at 5:10 pm


  7. JohnIL said on March 22, 2022 at 1:42 pm

    Well, when you take sides in a war you will piss off the other side. I think all these companies are sitting ducks for hackers. It’s just that until you poke the wasp nest they don’t strike.

  8. censor-hacks_protector_of_iron-head said on March 22, 2022 at 1:17 pm

    who the fudge cares??

  9. Tom Hawack said on March 22, 2022 at 1:02 pm

    A company spending half of its time striving for security (the other half dedicated to privacy intrusion, the third half to advertisement — MS has big glasses) is always and dramatic and laughable. Microsoft wouldn’t be the first in this case. Hard to imagine how such a Fort-Knox can be raped if the hacking proves to be true. The article’s title is a question and avoids sensationalism, appreciated.

    1. :-) said on March 22, 2022 at 6:19 pm

      Most of these attacks are done through social engineering. No amount of security will ever fix this when human error is the culprit.

  10. Anonymous said on March 22, 2022 at 12:44 pm

    What happens when your head is stuck in the clouds. Enjoy your Azure based trash.

  11. Haaa-Ha said on March 22, 2022 at 9:26 am

    Oh no! I really hope this doesn’t affect the usability and performance of Cortana and Bing!

  12. ilev said on March 22, 2022 at 8:04 am

    So much for Microsoft security.

    1. Bill Gates said on March 28, 2022 at 2:00 am

      Microsoft has always been into “reactive” vs “pro-active” security.

    2. Anonymous said on March 22, 2022 at 8:20 pm

      Look at every major hack. How much of them was because of Microsoft software? And why is it all of them? Ransomware is literally made possible by the architecture of Microsoft Windows.

  13. Anonymous said on March 22, 2022 at 7:17 am

    we can only hope >:D

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