Security Market Segment LS
Thursday, 23 January 2020 11:21

250m Microsoft customer support records exposed on Web

250m Microsoft customer support records exposed on Web Image by kalhh from Pixabay

Two hundred and fifty million records of conversations between Microsoft support agents and customers spanning the period 2005 to December 2019 lay exposed on the Web and was discovered last month.

The consumer site Comparitech, which found the data, said it was accessible on five Elasticsearch servers.

The following data was among the items exposed:

  • Customer email addresses;
  • IP addresses;
  • Locations;
  • Descriptions of CSS claims and cases;
  • Microsoft support agent emails;
  • Case numbers, resolutions, and remarks; and
  • Internal notes marked as “confidential”.

In a blog post, Microsoft said it had used wildcards to clear any personal data from the servers. However, those entries that did not conform to the format used were not removed.

Microsoft claimed that the data only became visible to the world on 5 December.

"Our investigation has determined that a change made to the database’s network security group on December 5, 2019 contained misconfigured security rules that enabled exposure of the data," the company's blog post said.

"Upon notification of the issue, engineers remediated the configuration on December 31, 2019 to restrict the database and prevent unauthorised access."

Comparitech said it had found the data on 29 December, a day after after it was indexed by the BinaryEdge search engine.

The head of its security research team, Bob Diachenko, applauded Microsoft for acting swiftly to remove access to the data.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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