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Microsoft follows Facebook and Apple as latest high-profile hacking victim

Microsoft has said that its computers have been hacked in a similar way to a series of cyber attacks recently affecting high-profile tech companies like Facebook and Apple.

The software giant indicated that it had been aware of the attack on employee computers for an unspecified period of time before going public in an official Microsoft Security Response Center blog post published Friday.

"As reported by Facebook and Apple, Microsoft can confirm that we also recently experienced a similar security intrusion. Consistent with our security response practices, we chose not to make a statement during the initial information gathering process," wrote Matt Thomlinson, general manager of the company's Trustworthy Computing Security unit.

"During our investigation, we found a small number of computers, including some in our Mac business unit, that were infected by malicious software using techniques similar to those documented by other organizations. We have no evidence of customer data being affected and our investigation is ongoing."

Last week, Facebook revealed that its systems were "targeted in a sophisticated attack." A few days later, Apple said that it too had been the victim of hackers. Earlier this month Twitter also said that it detected "unusual access patterns" on its network, which indicated that attackers might have accessed the user data of approximately 250,000 users, though it isn't clear if the Twitter breach was connected to the attacks experienced by Microsoft, Facebook, and Apple.

Microsoft did not detail the nature of the attack on its systems beyond the reference to the "similar techniques" used in attacks on other organisations. Bloomberg and AllThingsD earlier this week pointed to the iPhone developers site as the origin of malware found on Apple computers which exploited a zero-day Java vulnerability in the browsers of people visiting the site. Employees of Apple and other companies are believed to have visited and had their computers infected.

Meanwhile, was infected with malware last Thursday, and in recent weeks the Twitter accounts of companies such as Jeep and Burger King were hacked, underscoring what appears to be a wave of cyber attacks and security breaches affecting high-profile corporate targets.

Microsoft's revelation that the hack it experienced was similar to those suffered by Facebook and Apple will likely have security researchers scrambling to suss out the origins of the attacks. While some investigators have pointed the finger at China - specifically to a prolific group of computer hackers security researchers have traced to a government-backed, military building in Shanghai, Bloomberg reported this week that the attacks were the work of "an Eastern European gang that is trying to steal company secrets."