20:34 GMT08 May 2021
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    Microsoft Outlook’s email service was reportedly brought down this weekend in China. GreatFire.org, an online censorship watchdog suggests that the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) could have been behind the cyber attack.

    MOSCOW, January 19 (Sputnik), Ekaterina Blinova — Microsoft Outlook’s email service was reportedly brought down on Saturday in China; the cyberattack was strikingly similar to those carried out previously on iCloud, Google and Yahoo in the country, claims GreatFire.org, an online censorship watchdog.

    "People using email clients like Outlook, Mozilla's Thunderbird and apps on their phone with the SMTP and IMAP email protocols, which are used to send and receive messages, around Saturday were subject to a "man-in-the-middle" (MITM) attack," Reuters reported citing the watchdog.

    It should be noted that the attacks mostly affected mobile Outlook application, which use SMTP and IMAP protocols, while hackers did not hit the browser version located at www.outlook.com.

    GreatFire.org elaborates that it received the reports on the cyber attack on January 17, adding that it lasted for one day and already has ceased. Experts are pointing out the similarity between the Saturday's MITM attack and those which previously targeted Google, Yahoo and Apple in China, suggesting that the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) could have been responsible for bringing downing Microsoft Outlook email service.

    "Because of the similarity between this attack and previous, recent MITM attacks in China (on Google, Yahoo and Apple) we once again suspect that Lu Wei and the Cyberspace Administration of China have orchestrated this attack or have willingly allowed the attack to happen," the watchdog insisted.
    "If our accusation is correct, this new attack signals that the Chinese authorities are intent on further cracking down on communication methods that they cannot readily monitor," GreatFire.org said on its website, however, not presenting ample evidence proving their statement.

    Reuters notes that it cannot reach the CAC for immediate comment. It is worth mentioning that China's critics have repeatedly claimed that the state-run cyber security authorities were cracking down on foreign internet services through its advanced the Great Firewall censorship mechanism. The media outlet also noted that Google's Gmail service was blocked in the country last month, prompting Chinese users to shift to domestic email systems.

    hacker attack, hacking, Microsoft, China
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