Report Finds Microsoft Culpable On Chinese Hack That Compromised US Govt Emails

On April 2, the Cyber Safety Review Board (CSRB) released a report pinpointing Microsoft’s culpability in a targeted Chinese hack that compromised the email accounts of high-profile U.S. government officials last year. The report calls Microsoft out for its inadequate cybersecurity protocols, lackadaisical corporate culture, and deliberate lack of transparency regarding the breach’s origins.

The intrusion, which ransacked the Microsoft Exchange Online mailboxes of 22 organisations and over 500 individuals globally, is described as “preventable” and deemed an egregious failure on Microsoft’s part. The report emphasises that such a breach “should never have occurred.” The board issued sweeping recommendations that if implemented would dramatically strengthen the openness and security of the booming cloud computing industry.

Commentary By Amit Yoran, Chairman and CEO, Tenable:

“The CSRB issued a masterful piece of work. This is not some watered down, wishy washy document full of government speak and platitudes. After a thorough investigation, this body of august experts issued a powerful document that should serve as a wake-up call to cloud providers that cybersecurity must be a top priority. While some cyber failures are unavoidable, we shouldn’t assume that to always be the case. The report states that “the intrusion was preventable” and the Federal government has put its foot down over Microsoft’s repeated cybersecurity failures.

“It [CSRB] identified a series of Microsoft operational and strategic decisions that collectively pointed to a corporate culture that deprioritized enterprise security investments and rigorous risk management, at odds with the company’s centrality in the technology ecosystem and the level of trust customers place in the company to protect their data and operations.


“There is no mincing of words. I couldn’t be prouder of how CISA and CSRB are maturing.”

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