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Microsoft is facing intense scrutiny and criticism in a 34-page report released by the Cyber Safety Review Board (CSRB) regarding a cybersecurity incident involving the Chinese hacking group Storm-0558 compromising Microsoft Exchange Online mailboxes. The report points out inadequacies in Microsoft’s security culture and highlights the need for an overhaul, especially considering the company’s importance in the technology ecosystem and the trust customers place in it to protect their data.

The CSRB report criticizes Microsoft’s public communications, stating that the company took too long to correct a blog post about the root cause of the breach after repeated questions from the board. It also mentions that Microsoft still did not know how Storm-0558 obtained the critical 2016 Microsoft Services Account (MSA) signing key used in the intrusion.

The report suggests that Microsoft’s leaders should prioritize security features over new product features and revive the spirit of the “Trustworthy Computing” initiative established by Bill Gates in 2002. The CSRB emphasizes the need for Microsoft to restore this ethos as a top corporate priority and calls for closer oversight of security-related efforts by the CEO and Board of Directors, with accountability for implementing necessary changes.

In response to the report, a Microsoft spokesperson acknowledged the investigation’s focus on nation-state threat actors and the need for a new culture of engineering security within the company’s networks. Microsoft has launched the Secure Future Initiative to address security vulnerabilities, improve processes, and enhance security measures to defend against cyberattacks.

Microsoft’s security engineers are working to strengthen systems against attacks and implement robust sensors and logs to detect and repel cyber threats. The company plans to review the CSRB report for additional recommendations and continue efforts to enhance cybersecurity measures to protect against well-resourced adversaries.

Overall, the CSRB report highlights the need for Microsoft to prioritize security, improve communication, and implement necessary changes to prevent future cybersecurity incidents. The report emphasizes the importance of restoring trust in the company’s security culture and holding senior leaders accountable for implementing urgent security-related changes. Microsoft’s response indicates a commitment to strengthening security measures and addressing vulnerabilities to maintain trust and protection for customers’ data and operations.

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