Microsoft Urges Customers to Secure On-Premises Exchange Servers


Microsoft is urging customers to keep their Exchange servers updated as well as take steps to bolster the environment, such as enabling Windows Extended Protection and configuring certificate-based signing of PowerShell serialization payloads.

« Attackers looking to exploit unpatched Exchange servers are not going to go away, » the tech giant’s Exchange Team said in a post. « There are too many aspects of unpatched on-premises Exchange environments that are valuable to bad actors looking to exfiltrate data or commit other malicious acts. »

Microsoft also emphasized mitigations issued by the company are only a stopgap solution and that they can « become insufficient to protect against all variations of an attack, » necessitating that users install necessary security updates to secure the servers.

Exchange Server has been proven to be a lucrative attack vector in recent years, what with a number of security flaws in the software weaponized as zero-days to hack into systems.

In the past two years alone, several sets of vulnerabilities have been discovered in Exchange Server – including ProxyLogonProxyOracleProxyShellProxyTokenProxyNotShell, and a ProxyNotShell mitigation bypass known as OWASSRF – some of which have come under widespread exploitation in the wild.

Bitdefender, in a technical advisory published this week, described Exchange as an « ideal target, » while also chronicling some of the real-world attacks involving the ProxyNotShell / OWASSRF exploit chains since late November 2022.

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