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Wednesday, 17 March 2021 11:30

Microsoft offers mitigation for Exchange attack, silent on alleged code leak Featured

Microsoft offers mitigation for Exchange attack, silent on alleged code leak Pixabay

Microsoft has offered users of Exchange Server a means of mitigating the so-called ProxyLogon attack, a one-click tool that it says has been tested across the 2013, 2016 and 2019 versions of Exchange Server.

But the company said the tool was not totally fool-proof.

The company has not said anything about reports emerging last Friday that exploit code for attacking mail servers had been leaked by Microsoft's security partners.

The Wall Street Journal cited "people familiar with the matter" as making the claim. A wave of attacks used code similar to that which Microsoft provided to anti-virus companies on 23 February, the report claimed.

An information sharing program known as the Microsoft Active Protections Program was set up in 2008 and includes about 80 companies. Some of them were sent the code by Microsoft.

iTWire has sought comment from Microsoft as to why there has been no further word on this alleged leak.

As for the one-click tool, it is called Microsoft Exchange On-Premises Mitigation Tool and aims "to help customers who do not have dedicated security or IT teams to apply these security updates".

On 3 March, Microsoft disclosed that four zero-day exploits were being used to attack on-premises installations of Exchange Server.

Proof-of-concept code was released on GitHub on 10 March but was taken down by the Microsoft-owned code repository.

The code was again uploaded to GitHub a day or two later, by people other than the original poster.

Of the one-click tool, Microsoft said: "The Exchange On-premises Mitigation Tool is effective against the attacks we have seen so far, but is not guaranteed to mitigate all possible future attack techniques.

"This tool should only be used as a temporary mitigation until your Exchange servers can be fully updated as outlined in our previous guidance."

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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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