HomeWinBuzzer NewsIncrease in Microsoft Azure Account Compromises Raises Alarm Among Corporates

Increase in Microsoft Azure Account Compromises Raises Alarm Among Corporates

Phishing campaign targets Microsoft Azure, compromising accounts & exfiltrating data. CEOs, CFOs, and Sales Directors most at risk.


Proofpoint's Cloud Security Response Team has detected a sophisticated phishing campaign designed to compromise Azure environments. Initiated in late November 2023, the operation has successfully infiltrated hundreds of user accounts across multiple Azure ecosystems, including those of individuals occupying senior executive positions. The targeted approach of the campaign seeks to exploit these accounts for access to confidential corporate data, execution of unauthorized financial transactions, and broader attacks on organizational networks.

Campaign Mechanics and Targets

The attackers execute their ploy through ingeniously crafted emails containing embedded links that appear as legitimate “View document” prompts. These links, however, redirect victims to phishing pages crafted to steal credentials. Sales Directors, Account Managers, Finance Managers, and top executives including “Vice President, Operations”, “Chief Financial Officer & Treasurer”, and “President & CEO” have been identified as primary targets. Such selections are based on the high-level access and privileges these positions typically hold within an organization, making them of significant value for successful account compromise.

Proofpoint has also singled out a specific Linux user-agent string associated with the attackers. This digital footprint is linked to a multitude of post-compromise activities, ranging from manipulation of multi-factor authentication (MFA) safeguards to internal phishing and financial fraud. Among the Microsoft365 components compromised are critical data exfiltration, obfuscation rules creation in mailboxes, and more, underscoring the comprehensive nature of the attacks.

Defensive Measures Recommended

In response to the ongoing campaign, Proofpoint proposes several strategic defense measures to bolster security within and Office 365 environments. Among these recommendations is the enhancement of anomaly detection capabilities to identify unauthorized access attempts and the rapid response to such incidents. Additionally, firms are urged to adopt stricter MFA and geo-fencing policies to thwart attackers' efforts to bypass security protocols.

The operational infrastructure of the attackers, identified to comprise proxies, data hosting services, and hijacked domains, further complicates the defense landscape. Proxies are notably selected for their proximity to the targets, reducing the likelihood of MFA or geo-based security measures halting the attacks. Moreover, there is suggestive evidence pointing to the attackers' possible origins in or Nigeria, hinted at by the utilization of internet services from these regions.

Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.

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