Microsoft to permanently disable Basic Auth in all tenants, regardless of usage
July 29, 2022
In September 2021, Microsoft announced that effective October 1, 2022, they will begin disabling Basic authentication for Outlook, EWS, RPS, POP, IMAP, and EAS protocols in Exchange Online. SMTP Auth will also be disabled if it is not being used.
Basic authentication simply means the application sends a username and password with every request, and those credentials are also often stored or saved on the device. Traditionally, Basic authentication is enabled by default on most servers or services, and is simple to set up.
Simplicity isn’t at all bad, but Basic authentication makes it easier for attackers to capture user credentials (particularly if the credentials are not protected by TLS), which increases the risk of those stolen credentials being reused against other endpoints or services.
Beginning in early 2021, Microsoft already started to disable Basic authentication for existing tenants with no reported usage.
Microsoft recommends that customers adopt security strategies such as Zero Trust (Never Trust, Always Verify), or apply real-time assessment policies when users and devices access corporate information. These alternatives allow for intelligent decisions about who is trying to access what from where on which device rather than simply trusting an authentication credential that could be a bad actor impersonating a user.
See the full announcement here: Basic Authentication and Exchange Online – September 2021 Update.