The dedicated email servers of the European Banking Authority (EBA) were compromised in a global-scale hack on the Microsoft Exchange last weekend.

The EU regulatory agency headquartered in Paris has stated that personal data could have potentially been accessed from its email servers in the attack. The EBA added that it had responded by pulling down its entire system for email, commenting that it would remain offline while the damage was fully assessed. It commented:

“The EBA is working to identify what, if any, data was accessed.”

From world governments to major enterprises, Microsoft Exchange servers are a common choice for an email solution, yet very few organisations have so far come forward and admitted that their systems have been hit by the recent hack.

How did the hack occur?

According to experts at the Redmond-based tech giant, the recent cyberattack exploited a weakness in the Microsoft Exchange email system or employed the use of stolen passwords, so that it appeared as if an authorised user was accessing the email system. After obtaining access, the hacker would then assume remote control of the Microsoft Exchange’s email server and steal confidential information from the vulnerable network.

Officials in the US have warned that the recent attack was still ongoing and represented an “active threat”.

Jan Psaki, press secretary for the White House, commented:

“Everyone running these servers – government, private sector, academia – needs to act now to patch them.”

Who was responsible for the cyberattack?

Microsoft believes the assault on the Exchange is the work of a Chinese hacking gang, known as Hafnium, but the country has denied any involvement in the attack. Victims of the recent hack also include law firms, higher education facilities, researchers of infectious diseases, defence contractors, non-government organisations, policymakers and a wide range of SMEs.

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