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Police warn of cyber attacks on Office 365

The State Criminal Police Office of North Rhine-Westphalia warns of potential cyberattacks on Office 365, particularly via the Outlook email program and document management. Current investigations show that these attacks not only endanger companies, but also their customers. The perpetrators aim to take over email accounts and send malicious attachments or links in the name of companies. These phishing emails often appear authentic because they contain real conversations.

Theft of VPN access data

Clicking on the dangerous links can make IT systems vulnerable and cause data outflows. Cybercriminals are specifically searching email accounts for information from the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, when many employees were working from home. They are particularly interested in VPN access data to non-public IT networks. With this information, the attackers can gain direct access to the company’s IT infrastructure and access documents in the emails.


Investigations and protective measures

According to a press release from the LKA NRW, the investigations have already saved a number of companies from further attacks such as ransomware encryption and the associated blackmail. Cyberattacks of this kind regularly cause damage running into millions. The LKA emphasizes the importance of comprehensive security concepts and raising employee awareness.

Affected companies are advised to contact the cybercrime hotline at 0211/939-4040 or contact the Cybercrime Competence Center at cybercrime.lka@polizei.nrw.de. A general overview of the “Central Cybercrime Contact Points of the State and Federal Police” for companies is also available.


Official security recommendations from Microsoft

Microsoft has recently updated its guidance on how users can prevent their email accounts from being compromised. The company strongly recommends activating multi-factor authentication. According to Microsoft, possible signs of a compromised account are frequent password changes, missing or deleted emails, a newly set up email forwarding or problems when sending emails. You can find the official announcement here: https://learn.microsoft.com/de-de/defender-office-365/responding-to-a-compromised-email-account

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