One week ago, Microsoft disclosed information relating to an on-site mail server (Exchange) vulnerability that impacted corporate entities across the world. This vulnerability allowed hackers to target specific businesses, schools, and government agencies in effort to harvest information. What is important to note here, is that the vulnerability in the source code base has existed in the software for 10 years, but it wasn’t exploited until January 2021.
Before this incident, Microsoft recommended companies deploy Exchange Server hybrid environments, maintaining on-premise Exchange servers that sync with Office 365 in the cloud. The intention was to provide control and stability for IT administrators yet, in an ironic twist, only hybrid deployments with on-prem Exchange servers were affected by this vulnerability, while O365 cloud-only environments, maintained by Microsoft directly, are secure.
It’s time for many organizations to rethink their O365 infrastructure and on-prem strategy. According to internet security company Netcraft, there are still 99,000 servers online running unpatched Outlook Web Access software. This is an intimidating statistic! An attack of this magnitude requires prompt action.