If you have ever contacted Microsoft for support in the past 14 years, your technical query, along with some personally identifiable information might have been compromised.
Microsoft today admitted a security incident that exposed nearly 250 million “Customer Service and Support” (CSS) records on the Internet due to a misconfigured server containing logs of conversations between its support team and customers.
According to Bob Diachenko, a cybersecurity researcher who spotted the unprotected database and reported to Microsoft, the logs contained records spanning from 2005 right through to December 2019.
In a blog post, Microsoft confirmed that due to misconfigured security rules added to the server in question on December 5, 2019, enabled exposure of the data, which remained the same until engineers remediated the configuration on December 31, 2019.
Microsoft also said that the database was redacted using automated tools to remove the personally identifiable information of most customers, except in some scenarios where the information was not the standard format.
“Our investigation confirmed that the vast majority of records were cleared of personal information in accordance with our standard practices,” Microsoft said.
However, according to Diachenko, many records in the leaked database contained readable data on customers, including their:
- email addresses,
- IP addresses,
- Descriptions of CSS claims and cases,
- Microsoft support agent emails,
- Case numbers, resolutions, and remarks,
- Internal notes marked as “confidential.”
“This issue was specific to an internal database used for support case analytics and does not represent an exposure of our commercial cloud services,” Microsoft said.
By having real sensitive case information and email addresses of affected customers in hand, the leaked data could be abused by tech-support scammers to trick users into paying for non-existent computer problems by impersonating Microsoft support representatives.
As a result of this incident, the company said it began notifying impacted customers whose data was present in the exposed Customer Service and Support database.