Microsoft customers locked out of Azure and M365 services due to geolocation error

Microsoft was forced to apologize on Thursday after implementing a change that saw customers around the globe unable to access its services.

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Some Microsoft customers were unable to access the company’s Azure and Microsoft 365 services on Thursday due to an issue with Microsoft’s geolocation services.

Just after 12 p.m. GMT, the Microsoft 365 Status Twitter account posted a tweet alerting customers to the fact that it was “investigating an issue where users with specific conditional access policies applied may be unable to access any Microsoft 365 service,” adding that Microsoft was attempting to reverse a recent change in order to mitigate the impact.

As a result of the change, some users who had an IP-based conditional access policy experienced sign-in issues, as Microsoft’s geolocation service was inadvertently showing traffic was originating from Tashkent, Uzbekistan, rather than the genuine country of origin.

“Not cool. Sending US-based traffic to Uzbekistan is unacceptable on many levels,” Twitter user @brianwilson said in a tweet, along with screenshots of traffic being routed to Toshkent (the local name for Tashkent).

“Second time this MONTH this has happened. Earlier this month Azure AD was reporting some of our users as being in India; today it's reporting some are in Tashkent, Uzbekistan (myself included). We are 100% based in Canada!” Andy Matthews, an impacted customer, said in a tweet.

Although the issue was ultimately resolved about eight hours later, several replies to Microsoft’s initial tweet suggested the problem had started many hours before the company first took to social media to alert its customers.

This is not the first time this year Microsoft customers have been left unable to access the company’s services. At the end of January, Microsoft implemented a network change that saw customers across the globe unable to access its collaboration suite Teams and email service Outlook, as well as Microsoft Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and OneDrive for Business.

Less than two weeks later, customers once again reported having issues accessing Teams and Outlook.

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