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Microsoft Says Hackers With Possible North Korean Ties Stole User Data

A lawsuit alleges hackers tricked Microsoft users into handing over their login credentials, letting them access "highly sensitive information."
Posted at 8:08 PM, Dec 30, 2019

Microsoft is suing a mysterious hacking group with possible ties to North Korea for allegedly stealing "highly sensitive information" from U.S. computers.

A lawsuit filed earlier this month in Virginia alleges two anonymous hackers "have established an Internet-based cyber-theft operation referred to as 'Thallium.'" It says the pair "are engaged in breaking into the Microsoft accounts and computer networks of Microsoft's customers and stealing highly sensitive information."

According to the suit, Thallium targeted thousands of university employees, think tanks, government employees and government officials working on nuclear proliferation issues. 

The thieves would allegedly find a Microsoft user's work email address somewhere online and then contact that person claiming there was suspicious login activity with their account.

Hackers would share a link that they said would help fix the issue, but that link directed users to a Thallium-controlled website. The suit says hackers then stole login credentials and gained access to contact lists, calendar appointments and other private information stored on user accounts. 

Microsoft told customers in July it had been targeted by hackers in Russia, Iran and North Korea over the previous 12 months.