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Microsoft 'fesses credit cards exposed by Indian store hack

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Microsoft India has warned customers of its online store that their financial details may have been compromised, backtracking on a previous statement to the contrary.

Chinese hackers, apparently members of a group known as Evil Shadow Team, were thought to have breached Microsoft’s systems earlier this month, defacing the Microsoft India Store with a V for Vendetta image and the bizarre message: “Unsafe system will be baptized.”

The website was taken offline and remains inaccessible to this day, with a holding page claiming “Microsoft is working to restore access as quickly as possible”.

Speculation was rife at the time that Quasar Media, the digital media contractor Microsoft used to manage the site, had stored credit card info in plain-text format in a backend database, putting it at extreme risk of capture by the hackers.

However, Microsoft moved quickly to quash such rumours, claiming that “databases storing credit card details and payment information were not affected during this compromise”.

In time honoured fashion, however, Redmond has now been forced to admit that this prognosis may have been a little over-hasty, and optimistic, according to Wall Street Journal India blogger and Microsoft customer, Amit Agarwal.

The new statement sent to customers via email from Microsoft India general manager Chakrapani Gollapali reads:

Further detailed investigation and review of data provided by the website operator revealed that financial information may have been exposed for some Microsoft Store India customers.

Redmond has set up a helpline - never a good sign - and asked any customers who have used their cards on the site to contact their provider as their details may have been exposed.

The Reg reached out to Microsoft to get confirmation of the email seen by Agarwal but without success so far. ®

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