Microsoft confirms Azure, Outlook, OneDrive outages caused by Layer 7 DDoS Attacks
Microsoft has recently confirmed that the outages experienced by Azure, Outlook, and OneDrive web portals were the result of Layer 7 DDoS attacks targeting the company’s services. The attacks have been attributed to a threat actor known as Storm-1359, who identifies themselves as Anonymous Sudan.
These disruptive events occurred at the beginning of June, with Outlook.com’s web portal being targeted on June 7th, followed by OneDrive on June 8th, and the Microsoft Azure Portal on June 9th. Initially, Microsoft did not explicitly disclose that they were facing DDoS attacks but hinted at it by mentioning the application of load balancing processes to mitigate the issues.
In a recent preliminary root cause report, Microsoft further alluded to the DDoS attacks, noting that a significant spike in network traffic was responsible for the Azure outage. According to Microsoft, the spike impacted their ability to manage traffic to the affected sites, resulting in accessibility issues for customers.
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Anonymous Sudan, also tracked as Storm-1359 by Microsoft, emerged in January 2023, announcing their intention to conduct attacks against countries opposing Sudan. Since then, the group has targeted various organizations and government agencies globally, launching DDoS attacks and leaking stolen data.
In May, the group escalated its activities by targeting large organizations and demanding payments to cease the attacks. Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) was among the initial targets, with the threat actors demanding a payment of $3,500 to halt the DDoS attacks. Subsequently, the group focused on American companies, such as Tinder, Lyft, and several hospitals across the United States.
In June, Anonymous Sudan turned its attention to Microsoft, launching DDoS attacks on web-accessible portals for Outlook, Azure, and OneDrive. The group demanded a payment of $1 million to stop the attacks and claimed that Microsoft had failed to repel their prolonged assault.
Anonymous Sudan claiming attack on Microsoft Azure
While Anonymous Sudan cited the USA’s involvement in Sudanese politics as the reason for their attacks on Outlook, cybersecurity researchers have raised suspicions of a false flag and potential links to Russia. Recent statements from Anonymous Sudan regarding the formation of a “DARKNET parliament” involving pro-Russia groups like KILLNET and “REvil” further support these concerns. The group has even threatened to impose sanctions on European banking transfer systems, although no attacks have been reported yet.
Considering the demonstrated capabilities and resources at the disposal of Anonymous Sudan, financial institutions should remain vigilant and prepared for potential disruptions in the face of this evolving threat.
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