Microsoft joins Apple on hacker’s hit list


Sun, Feb 24, 2013 - Page 13

Microsoft Corp on Friday joined Facebook Inc and Apple Inc on the list of US technology titans targeted in recent cyberattacks.

“As reported by Facebook and Apple, Microsoft can confirm that we also recently experienced a similar security intrusion,” Trustworthy Computing team general manager Matt Thomlinson said in a blog.

“During our investigation, we found a small number of computers, including some in our Mac business unit, that were infected by malicious software using techniques similar to those documented by other organization,” he said.

There was no evidence that customer data was stolen, but an investigation is ongoing, he added.

“This type of cyberattack is no surprise to Microsoft and other companies that must grapple with determined and persistent adversaries,” Thomlinson said.

Apple on Tuesday said hackers invaded its system in an attack similar to one carried out against Facebook recently, but that it repelled the intruders before its data was plundered.

The maker of iPhones, iPads, and iPods said it was working with law enforcement officials to hunt down the hackers, who appeared tied to a series of recent cyberattacks on US technology firms.

“The malware was employed in an attack against Apple and other companies, and was spread through a Web site for software developers,” Apple told reporters.

The malicious software, or malware, exploited a vulnerability in a Java program used as a “plug-in” for Web browsing programs.

A “small number” of computer systems at Apple were infected, but they were isolated from the main network, the company said.

“There is no evidence that any data left Apple,” it added.

Word of hackers hitting Apple came days after Facebook said it was “targeted in a sophisticated attack” last month, but that no user data was compromised.

Facebook said malware that infected some of its machines came from a mobile developer Web site.

Early this month, Twitter said it was hammered by a cyberattack similar to those that recently hit major Western news outlets and that the passwords of about 250,000 users were stolen.

While those behind the attacks had yet to be identified, computer security specialists have expressed suspicions about China-sponsored hackers and Eastern European criminal gangs.