Microsoft Tightens Password Security as LinkedIn Breach Looms Large
LinkedIn was hit by a breach in June 2012, affecting 6 million users, the social network originally said. Nearly four years later, a clearer picture of the incident has emerged: 100 million LinkedIn users' passwords were potentially stolen.
"On May 17, 2016, we became aware that data stolen from LinkedIn in 2012 was being made available online. This was not a new security breach or hack," states an email distributed to LinkedIn users from the social network's legal team. "We took immediate steps to invalidate the passwords of all LinkedIn accounts that we believed might be at risk."
Despite these steps, LinkedIn users may still be at risk. Hackers are reportedly selling the trove of stolen emails and passwords, and even if they no longer work with LinkedIn, the credentials can potentially be used to unlock other popular sites and online services due to password reuse.
Microsoft accounts, those used to log into OneDrive, Xbox Live, Outlook.com and a host of other online services from the software giant, are already being immunized against password attacks that stem from breaches like the one suffered by LinkedIn, said Alex Weinert, group program manager of Microsoft Azure Active Directory (AD) Identity Protection.
In light of the massive LinkedIn breach, Microsoft sets tough password policies on its accounts and Azure Active Directory.
"When it comes to big breach lists, cybercriminals and the Azure AD Identity Protection team have something in common—we both analyze the passwords that are being used most commonly," he wrote in a blog post. "Bad guys use this data to inform their attacks—whether building a rainbow table or trying to brute force accounts by trying popular passwords against them. What *we* do with the data is prevent you from having a password anywhere near the current attack list, so those attacks won't work."