The unauthorised access to this web mail data was recorded between 1 January 2019 and 28 March 2019.
Cybercriminals have compromised a "limited" number of Microsoft email accounts, the software giant has told customers.
Getty ImagesThis is on the heels of a report from TechCrunch on Saturday evening that there was a breach on Microsoft's email services, which the company said let attackers access email addresses, folder names, subject lines and other email addresses users have written to, but not the content. They also claim that the hack lasted at least six months, doubling the period of vulnerability that Microsoft has claimed.
"Upon awareness of this issue, Microsoft immediately disabled the compromised credentials, prohibiting their use for any further unauthorized access", the company said. After this pushback, Microsoft responded that around 6 percent of customers had suffered unauthorized access to their emails, and that these customers received different breach notifications to make this clear.
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Microsoft has confirmed that hackers were able to read email from Microsoft's Outlook, MSN and Hotmail email services, Motherboard reported this week.
An unknown number of Microsoft Corp. email account users, including those using Outlook and Hotmail, may have had details of emails stolen in a hack that lasted from January 1 to March 28. Paid-for, enterprise accounts were unaffected-only consumer accounts were hit.
"Please be assured that Microsoft takes data protection very seriously and has engaged its internal security and privacy teams in the investigation and resolution of the issue, as well as additional hardening of systems and processes to prevent such recurrence", the email adds. The company noted that the contents of emails or attachments were not accessed.
The source confirms that hackers were able to read the contents of emails, saying the access was used as part of a scam to unlock iPhones which had been stolen. It is, however, recommending users to reset their passwords just in case.