Teams is the business-focused service from Microsoft that integrates its Office365 services and has continued to grow as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, doubling its users in the past four months. Teams allows video chats for hundreds and thousands to join with a meeting link, and does not even require an app. Teams also offers Slack-like features, which allows users to instant message colleagues and provides them with integration with non-Microsoft apps.
Has there ever been a breach or data leak?
Date of last breach
Microsoft admitted that between December 5th and 31st of 2019 that an internal customer support database was left public. This left approximately 250 million Customer Service records exposed, and often included customer email addresses, IP addresses, and locations.
Is any kind of biometric data collected (health, heart, voice, etc.)?
Are you able to delete your data / the data collected about you?
Does it have parental controls?
Does it use encryption to protect your data both in-transit and at-rest?
Does it get regular software and / or firmware updates?
Does it require you to create a strong password?
Is there a system in place for managing security vulnerabilities?
How Can It Snoop?
Does it have a camera or request / require access to a camera?
Does it have a microphone or request / require access to a microphone?
Does it track your location or request / require access to location data?
Does it require an email address to use?
Does it require a phone number to use?
Does it require an address (home or office) to use?
Are you able to use a credit card as a payment option?
Are you able to use a cryptocurrency as a payment option?
Are you able to use PayPal as a payment option?
Are you able to use cash or gift cards as a payment option?
What Could Go Wrong?
Microsoft has a decent track record when it comes to keeping their products secure. It also does a decent job on the transparency of the data it collects, uses, and ability to delete. However, be cautious, as Microsoft was allowing contractors in China to review Skype calls in an insecure manner just last year. Microsoft obviously changed their behavior, but always be aware companies may not always prioritize your privacy over profits.
How Does It Share Your Data?
Microsoft can collect a good amount of data from its products including things like contact data, payment data, interactions, usage data, payment history, browse history, device, searches, images, location data, and social data. It does use other data to target you with advertising with Microsoft web properties and other partners like Verizon and Facebook.
- Microsoft uses encryption, puts out monthly and bi-weekly updates on both platforms, and has a bug bounty program.
- Microsoft has a good track record in keeping your information and calls private.
- Microsoft did allow Chinese contractors to review Skype calls in a unsafe matter, but Microsoft changed their ways. But, be wary the companies may prioritize your privacy over profits.
Microsoft has been known to collect a lot of personal data from its users and handle it poorly. It was also the target of cyberattack in December 2019 that left its Customer Support database, and a large amount of user information, public for several weeks. Microsoft products should be used with extreme caution.