We’ve been watching the story for a while – basically, Xbox 360 users are logging into their consoles to find that Microsoft Points have been removed or spent, games have been played that the genuine users haven’t touched, security questions have been changed and, in some cased – apparently – credit cards have been charged.
Call it what you will, but it sounds to us like there’s an issue here that is seemingly being swept under the carpet. Most of the recent cases involve the affected individual’s account being the subject of several FIFA 12 DLC purchases, something that Microsoft are keen to deny is anything substantial but certainly appears to be a common theme.
We’ve been asking around, as have a few other sites, and we’re getting the impression that this isn’t entirely down to user error at all, and that Microsoft’s insistance that ‘phishing’ is to blame is something that warrants a little more discussion. The Sun might have brought all this to the attention of the casual user, but it too based its initial article (and front page) on the same school of thought as Microsoft.
However, that tact has – over the last few days – changed. Despite Microsoft denying any link between the recent hacks (against which there are pages and pages of user submitted evidence) and EA’s FIFA, The Sun has actually been out there and spoken to those claiming to be affected.
“Hundreds of readers contacted The Sun yesterday after we told how criminals have swindled millions from people in online scams,” says the paper, via MCV. “Many victims denied clicking on bogus ‘phishing’ websites or giving personal details to crooks posing as fellow players — saying that Microsoft is under attack from gangs.”
“MS are playing down the issue here, but I can assure you there’s more to it than a bit of phishing,” says one commentor on the trade website. “To me it’s full-on fraud and MS don’t seem that interested in sorting it.”
Microsoft, frustratingly, are sticking to their guns. “”As we commented on Tuesday, the Xbox LIVE service has not been hacked,” said the company.
“However, we are investigating a number of recent customer complaints relating to Xbox Live customer service – particularly in the way that we have processed refunds to customers that have been victims of phishing related fraud.” It’s this reliance on placing the blame on the user that is causing annoyance.
It might be fun to point at The Sun and giggle at their headlines – sure – but at least they’ve caused the big players to take notice, and that’s the most important thing here.
Again, our earlier story on this links to three growing threads on popular gaming forum NeoGAF where users are openly sharing their experience with being subjected to this current round of account hacks. Microsoft are currently taking a substantial amount of days to get the affected accounts back up and running.
Naturally, The Guardian has a nicely balanced story on all this, but we must re-iterate that nothing – at this stage – is proven with regards to the stories from either side of the fence. It’s entirely possible, for instance, that user accounts are being compromised via repeated passwords involved in any number of recent website and service hacks.
We remind all visitors to ensure that all passwords are unique to each website and service.
Source: The Sun.