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Wednesday, 17 March 2021 08:24

Some Microsoft services still affected after authentication update issue Featured

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Some Microsoft services still affected after authentication update issue Image by Augusto Ordonez from Pixabay

Users of Microsoft's online services are continuing to face issues, with the company's Intune and Managed Desktop services still not working propery, the company said in a tweet on Tuesday US time.

Intune is a cloud-based management solution that can be used to manage mobile devices and operating systems. Microsoft Managed Desktop is a cloud-based device management to deliver secured, updated, and maintained systems.

On Monday US time, Microsoft's 365 services took a hit around the world after an authentication update went wrong. Such updates are normally not carried out on Mondays.

In a statement on its Azure status page, Microsoft said preliminary analysis of the incident showed that "an error occurred in the rotation of keys used to support Azure AD’s use of OpenID, and other, Identity standard protocols for cryptographic signing operations".

"As part of standard security hygiene, an automated system, on a time-based schedule, removes keys that are no longer in use. Over the last few weeks, a particular key was marked as 'retain' for longer than normal to support a complex cross-cloud migration. This exposed a bug where the automation incorrectly ignored that “retain” state, leading it to remove that particular key.

"Metadata about the signing keys is published by Azure AD to a global location in line with Internet Identity standard protocols. Once the public metadata was changed at 19:00 UTC (6am AEDT on Tuesday), applications using these protocols with Azure AD began to pick up the new metadata and stopped trusting tokens/assertions signed with the key that was removed. At that point, end users were no longer able to access those applications."

The issue was rectfied by 21:05 UTC (8.05 AEDT on Tuesday). "Service telemetry identified the problem, and the engineering team was automatically engaged. The key removal operation was identified as the cause, and the key metadata was rolled back to its prior state at 21:05 UTC," the company said.

But complaints continue to pour in, many about Teams not working as expected, and Sharepoint Online and OneDrive playing up as well.

One Twitter user, Umar Tariq, commented sarcastically: "Until this issue is resolved you can think about moving to @awscloud and have a seamless connectivity with continuous business continuation :) @ericgales @JeffBezos."


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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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