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Rackspace Security Incident Causes Thousands To Lose Email Service

Jay Fitzgerald

A major company outage has lasted through the weekend and into this morning, impacting thousands of customers.

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Rackspace Technology slowly began restoring email services to thousands of Microsoft 365 customers Monday morning after a security incident caused a massive weekend-long outage tied to its hosted Exchange.

But an undisclosed number of customers were still without email service as of late Monday morning as Rackspace, the San Antonio, Texas-based multicloud technology solutions provider, continued to address problems associated with the security incident.

The email outage began early Friday and led to widespread social-media criticism of the company’s handling of the incident and frustration over the lack of information.

In a post Monday morning, Rackspace said progress was being made in getting services back up and running – but outages continued to plague many.

“We have successfully restored email services to thousands of customers on Microsoft 365 and continue to make progress on restoring email services to every affected customer,” the company said in its post. “At this time, moving to Microsoft 365 is the best solution for customers who can now also implement temporary forwarding.”

The company didn’t say how long it would take to fully restore services to all customers impacted.

For both Rackspace and its customers, it was a long weekend.

The company initially didn’t say on Friday that the outage was caused by a security incident. But by 1:57 a.m. on Saturday, Rackspace confirmed what many had suspected from the outset.

“On Friday, Dec 2, 2022, we became aware of an issue impacting our Hosted Exchange environment,” the company said in a post update.

“We proactively powered down and disconnected the Hosted Exchange environment while we triaged to understand the extent and the severity of the impact. After further analysis, we have determined that this is a security incident.”

The company added: “The known impact is isolated to a portion of our Hosted Exchange platform. We are taking necessary actions to evaluate and protect our environments.”

Later Saturday and on Sunday, Rackspace reassured customers that its teams continued to “work diligently” to restore email service. The company also continued to give guidance on how to implement temporary solutions.

“We appreciate your patience and understanding,” the company said.

But there appeared to be a limit to many customers’ patience and understanding.

After Rackspace initially issued a Twitter update on Friday, the response from users was immediate and blunt.

“This is a pathetic response,” tweeted one user. “That reply is not acceptable to those impacted,” read another reaction.

Some on social-media blasted the long wait times they experienced when seeking help and information.

“Unbelievable,” read one tweet. “After 5 hours on hold, call was answered, we gave info politely, agent said to hold on a moment, and we were disconnected. Poof. No help, wasted time.”

At one point Rackspace pronounced that the “full extent of its support services are dedicated to this issue.”

A spokesman for Rackspace referred all questions to its online responses to the outages.

Rackspace stock sank 10 percent in trading on Monday to $4.36 after the news of the outage.

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