Patch your Exchange email server now! Flaws exploited by hackers to download corporate email

Leaving your systems unpatched is asking for trouble.

Patch your Exchange email server now! flaws exploited by hackers to download corporate email

Microsoft has released emergency security patches for four zero-day vulnerabilities in its Exchange email server software, widely used by businesses.

In a blog post the company said that multiple zero-day vulnerabilities in on-premises versions of Microsoft Exchange Server had been exploited in attacks that it believed were orchestrated by a state-sponsored Chinese hacking group called “Hafnium.”

Exploitation of the security holes allowed malicious attackers to gain access to email accounts, and allowed other malware to be planted to gain a long-term foothold within organisations.

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Microsoft is urging at-risk organisations to install security updates immediately.

The versions of Microsoft Exchange Server affected are:

  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2013
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2016
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2019

The online version of Exchange is not affected by the flaws.

Microsoft says that the Hafnium hacking group has primarily targeted victims in the United States, “including infectious disease researchers, law firms, higher education institutions, defense contractors, policy think tanks, and NGOs.”

More details about the zero-day flaws can be found in this write-up by researchers from Volexity.

According to Volexity, the attacks have been stealing email and compromising networks since as early as January 6, 2021.

So don’t delay – follow Microsoft’s advice, and apply the patches to affected systems immediately.

Dawdling only increases the chances that Hafnium, or other hacking groups who may have other targets in their sights, will attempt to exploit the vulnerabilities in an attack against your organisation.

Leaving your systems unpatched is asking for trouble.

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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