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New cases of Xbox Live account hacking come to light

Friday, 6 January 2012 14:48 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

More reports of Xbox Live accounts being illegally accessed have come to light this week, with the latest claim coming from a user who discovered her account had been sold through a site operating out of China to a Polish Xbox Live user.

Apparently, after discovering that quite a few unauthorized purchases had been made through XBL using PayPal, the user contacted Microsoft Customer Service. After being assured her account was deactivated while an investigation was conducted, she went about her business. However, she found that 72 hours later, her account was not blocked by MS, and more money had been stolen from her account through PayPal. You can read her entire story through the link.

What she describes is just another occurrence in what has become a growing concern since October, when Ars first reported that hackers had gained access to XBL profiles and purchased points as well as FIFA 11 and FIFA 12.

Despite the obvious evidence of unauthorized access, Microsoft denied XBL had been compromised despite a “limited” number of outside account access.

However, a couple of months later, late December to be exact, Shacknews’ Xav de Matos discovered that his account had been hacked into as well, and was told by a Microsoft executive he had become a victim of a “phishing scam”.

Both Microsoft and EA told de Matos that each company was currently “working on the situation.” Meanwhile, more XBL users have contacted de Matos, stating they were currently experiencing issues with their accounts as well – some through Windows Live even, and the purchase was the Collector’s Edition of Rift.

All of this is nothing new, though, as account hacks have been reported as far back as November 2010 when The Sun (thanks, MCV) ran a feature focusing on the hack. Microsoft again quickly dismissed the issue, claiming it was a phishing scam affecting user accounts.

It is still unclear how the XBL accounts are being accessed, so until the situation is remedied, it would probably be in users’ best interest to purchase point card from retailers to buy XBL content instead of using PayPal or a credit card.

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25 Comments

  1. Ireland Michael

    Phishing =/= hacking.

    It’s either that or a key-logger on their PC.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. djhsecondnature

    @1 – Or it was a hack…

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Joe Musashi

    Seems like this is more than mere phishing. Lots of interesting insight @ GAF. Including how it’s not possible to remove your credit card details from a gold XBL acct until the renewal date (wtf?!).

    JM

    #3 3 years ago
  4. SplatteredHouse

    Because of their inaction, after insisting that the account was deactivated, she had done what she could, but she suffered further damage through their negligence.

    How bad. A series of further reports cropped up during end of last week on this subject.
    @1: it would seem to me, as there are increasing numbers of these incidents being reported, perhaps it will soon be time to cease to continue being as dismissive about the reasons for them.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Ireland Michael

    This is a handful of individuals out of millions of users. It’s most definitely phishing or key-logging.

    I don’t even need to bother humouring any other possibility, as they will be little more than hot air assumptions.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. Stephany Nunneley

    @3 My better half just removed his CC information from his XBL account just fine not an hour ago.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. Da Man

    This has been going on for years, chinese are selling these ‘stolen’ accounts with points and content tied to them.

    They get you banned, but lots of people buy them in EE countries, since games cost way too much. It’s being obtained through phishing, social engineering and just users having poor passwords, pretty much along the same lines as those Halo3 Recon scams, MW messages sent from modded 360s and the such. Many share the same Live ID between their general hotmail and Xbox, which makes it even easier.

    Btw, this is how Major Nelson and stepto were ‘hacked’ : http://www.ripten.com/2011/04/03/steptos-blog-handed-over-to-hacker-irony-ensues-brycew/

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Joe Musashi

    @5 Well to each their own.

    This is the GAF topic which has some interesting things to say (and many excitable reactions, naturally) on this. It’s up to each individual to protect their online details as much as any corporation – so some may find it useful.

    @6 Sounds promising. :)

    JM

    #8 3 years ago
  9. OrbitMonkey

    It may not be hacking, but it’s obvious some knowledgeable crims are targeting 360 users. Maybe Microsoft could run a online safety ad or something. A tutorial for newer users?

    #9 3 years ago
  10. Da Man

    #9, Since you asked.. there was even a whole episode with Major discussing the basics, featuring Toulouse, where he explained how you can use the security questions to create a second password, simpleton-proof tutorial.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. Psychotext

    It’s not phishing or keylogging Michael. I set up my missus’s account with a completely unique password (that she didn’t even know) and have entered it only directly into a 360 since the account was created.

    It happened on her account late last year… and if it’s phishing then they’ve somehow got into my brain without me actually knowing about it. That, or they’ve literally managed to hack one of our controllers / 360s.

    Now social engineering of some support bod in a random country (most of these accounts seem to be getting recovered to the far east), that could be quite another story.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. djhsecondnature

    @5 – I know of people who have either not used the accounts for months, or are far too savvy to be caught out by phising scams.

    The number of reports of this is becoming increasingly larger by the day, to the stage where ignoring it is now ignorance than it is to “humour” it.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. Psychotext

    Cause aside… that they allowed more money to be taken from this woman when her account was supposedly locked is utterly disgusting. Even if they couldn’t lock her account (Seriously? What levels of ineptitude have you being unable to lock an account in a system you completely control?), they should have at least had the decently to either unlink her payment options or contact her so that she could try and do something about it (like cancelling her payment providers).

    #13 3 years ago
  14. lexph3re

    See I’m pretty much done explaining this stuff to people on what is and isn’t hacking. Mainly because people just have to justify what they believe is right. Now matter what level of hacking you view it from it’s hacking.

    But whatever i’ll just keep doing what im doing

    #14 3 years ago
  15. DSB

    The thing that springs to mind with these stories is my experiene from WoW. People got “hacked” all the time, but you could pretty much be sure that it was their own fault every single time.

    Even intelligent people managed to get their accounts stolen. I’m extremely paranoid about fishing schemes, and I’m always likely to delete e-mails from either Blizzard, Paypal or a similar place unless they’re immediately verifiable, and as a result, I’ve never had any account compromised.

    Of course people are always going to say it’s never their fault, and of course they’re going to say it’s everything between God and Chinese military hackers, but usually there’s a pretty logical explanation.

    Naturally you also have the breach element. Even though it’s rarely reported, any breach of personal information will lead to succesful thefts, especially if people don’t take precautions. It’s hard to say whether Microsoft has suffered one or not, but the fact that the media is picking up on every report doesn’t say a lot in itself. I’d think it would be hard for a business as big as Microsoft to keep it a secret, and it would be a pretty bad strategy to try.

    Personally I always take steps to change all my passwords whenever a breach is reported. I’ve never had an account compromised.

    @4 With the emphasis on the words “being reported”, I guess. After Gawker and PSN lost peoples info, there weren’t a lot of reports of people suffering abuse, but it’s always going to be an inevitable result of breaches like that.

    If people know who you are, they can and will succesfully claim to be you if enough competent attempts are made.

    Of course, wether Microsoft has suffered a breach or not is nearly impossible to tell.

    #15 3 years ago
  16. Banazies

    ATTENTION!!!! This has happened to my account within the last couple days. I had no problem working with Microsoft on locking my account on Jan. 4th, due to being charged 74.99 for xbox live points I did not purchase! However the next day I noticed that there were two charges for 49.99!!! I called them back and was told that my account was NEVER locked… However, I couldn’t access it te day they locked it. They couldn’t ask my security question because it was in Chinese. I set my security question up with Microsoft the day I reported the initial charge of 74.99, IT wasn’t Chinese and I don’t know Chinese. Alas, I am thoroughly convinced that Microsoft Xbox Live has suffered a breach! My Xbox account was locked, unlocked and changed to Chinese, if hackers can change what technical support can do, then its not just my account it’s their system. I am really pissed with Microsoft, I am totaling up to about 175 bucks now, I can’t erase my bank information from the xbox live account because it needs to be investigated, so I had to cancel all my bank cards, pay pal AND HOPE that there was no other information that was compromised.

    #16 3 years ago
  17. Da Man

    Simple, the tech support guy was possessed by a demon. That’s what you get for celebrating New year and consequently honoring Janus.

    #17 3 years ago
  18. DonnerKebab

    FYI – it’s still going on.

    A friend’s account has just been hacked (yesterday) and his password changed, MS points wiped, and worst of all a ton of points bought on his CC. This wasn’t from phishing – seems like a straight hack as he is very security conscious (password changes etc). Just saying so people are aware.

    Hope VG247 can keep on MS’s case about this.

    #18 3 years ago
  19. Gadzooks!

    It’s phishing and it isnt going to stop.

    #19 3 years ago
  20. Christopher Jack

    @19, No its not, accounts are simply being hacked, nothing more. I personally blame the whole Windows sign in bullshit, a universal password for completely different services is a terribad idea.

    #20 3 years ago
  21. Gadzooks!

    Nah, it”s phishing.

    #21 3 years ago
  22. Christopher Jack

    Any informed person would be aware to not send passwords over the net, you’d have to be an idiot to fall for a phishing scam like this, no matter how elaborate.

    #22 3 years ago
  23. Gadzooks!

    Lol.

    #23 3 years ago
  24. DSB

    I noticed that there’s a huge problem with Xbox Live yesterday.

    I’m still using my hotmail account from over a decade ago, and my password and e-mail address are also the username and password for Xbox Live.

    So if people are using the same password for their e-mail that they use on every other site, it would be a snitch to swipe it with a phishing scam.

    Again, looking at WoW, I’m guessing that 99% of the cases of “hacking” that takes place there, pretty much every day, is a result of some idiot giving away his password due to a phishing e-mail, or buying gold, or telling a “trusted friend”.

    Live has Microsoft Points. My guess is that if you sent people a “great offer” for some of those real cheap, of course requiring an “account”, you’d end up with a lot of passwords, in the cases where e-mail and password is a match.

    I think that’s a terrible system. The reason why I keep different passwords for different things is so that can’t happen, but yet Microsoft insists on linking the two. There’s no excuse for linking an active e-mail account with one that (potentially) contains credit card data.

    That’s too easy to exploit, and I find that more likely than consistent, repeated brute force attacks, which would carry a lot more risk for those perpetrating them, and I have a hard time seeing a major corporation being able to cover up a major security breach, especially one that fucks up as much as Microsoft.

    #24 3 years ago
  25. polygem

    http://www.vg247.com/forum/topic.php?id=5671&page=1

    #25 3 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    Contrast developer Compulsion Games has revealed its next project – the delightfully creepy-looking We Happy Few. We Happy Few is set in “a drug-fuelled, retrofuturistic city in an alternative 1960s England” where “a plucky bunch of moderately terrible people trying to escape from a lifetime of cheerful denial”. Players are tasked with blending in with […]

  • Slender: The Arrival creeping onto PS4, Xbox One in March

    Slender: The Arrival sold like hotcakes on PC and last-gen consoles, so why not terrify yourself on PS4 and Xbox One, too? Slender: The Arrival will release on PS4 on March 24 and on Xbox One on March 25, developer Blue Isle Studios has announced, for $10. No word on that Wii U version, though. […]

  • GOG weekend sale celebrates German debut

    DRM-free games vendor GOG is celebrating its German-language launch with a tasty sale. The sale offers discounts over 25 “German favourites”. Highlights inclue 97% off Deponia, and less steep but still tasty savings on Memoria and Blackguards 1 and 2. The sale will run through March 3, and you do not have to be, speak, […]

  • Humble Weekly Bundle goes back to Japan

    The latest Humble Weekly Bundle is called Made in Japan, and I’m sure you can guess the theme. Pay what you want for Cherry Tree High Complete Pack (PC; Steam or DRM free), Fairy Bloom Freesia (PC; Steam or DRM free) and Influent + Language Pack (Linux, Mac, PC; Steam or DRM free). Pay more […]

  • Capcom “looking into” solutions to Resident Evil: Revelations PC co-op issue

    Resident Evil: Revelations 2 fans should sit tight for a bit, as Capcom is working on some sort of solution to the co-op issue. Resident Evil: Revelations 2 doesn’t have local co-op on PC and fans are pretty mad about that, as it was advertised ahead of release as a key feature. Although Capcom has […]

  • The games industry is disruption, says Assassin’s Creed producer

    Former Assassin’s Creed producer Jade Raymond has characterised the games industry as one long series of upsets. The games industry changes all the time, and that’s one of its best qualities, Raymond said. The ex-Ubisoft leader told Polygon that the reason seh got into games in the first place was because it “is this undefined […]

  • GTA 5 made $31 million in digital revenue in January

    GTA 5 is the highest-grossing title at the moment in terms of digital revenue, and the PSN is absolutely minting it. Digital games industry analyst Superdata has extended its scope to include console games, which means we suddenly have access to a whole bunch of data we’ve only been able to guess at, or extrapolate […]

  • Destiny: Inferno playlists debut next week

    Destiny PvP will shake things up next week with a new way to slaughter your mates in the Crucible. Destiny is already a skilled PvP game, but the new Inferno playlists will turn things up a notch with a focus on “basic gunplay”. The first of these, Inferno Control, kicks off on March 3 and […]

  • First-person camera coming to Guild Wars 2 next month

    ArenNet has announced its adding nonrestrictive first-person view to Guild Wars 2. Here’s what top expect come March 10: First-person Camera: Zooming in all the way will allow players to experience a first-person view. First-person mode is available while standing in place, walking, running, jumping, playing PvP and just about anything else. There aren’t any […]

  • Shadowrun Online signs on with Nordic

    Shadowrun Online has been given a nice little boost thanks to a distribution deal with Nordic Games. Shadowrun Online is a new team tactical RPG from Cliffhanger Productions. Although it’s already available through Steam Early Access, Nordic has agreed to distribute the finished version, which is due on Linux, Mac and PC in the second […]

  • Final Fantasy 15 is 60% finished, game world ten times the size of demo

    Final Fantasy 15 is 60% finished, according to director Hajime Tabata. Speaking with IGN, Tabata said development will kick into high gear once the Episode Duscae demo is released. “It’s about 60% now. People may look at that and say ‘well, you’ve only done five more percent!’ [since 55% in September] but it’s actually a […]

  • Destiny: you don’t need to visit the tower to access your vault

    Destiny players, you asked for it and Bungie has delivered it: you can now swap items in and out of the vault using the companion app. “Destiny needs more vault space” you cry – and yes, this is true. But while we all struggle with the limitations imposed on us by Bungie, we face all […]

  • Mortal Kombat X will contain over 100 Brutalities

    During the Mortal Kombat X stream today, NetherRealm Studios revealed Brutalities are back for the game, and stated there will be over 100 to pull off. You won’t gain any extra experience for being overly cruel with your painful moves, but you will at least get to laugh at some and “cringe” at others, according […]

  • Numenera: Strand is a film based on the game up on Kickstarter

    Numenera, the 2012 Kickstarter success and foundation for Torment: Tides of Numenera, could become a film if the Kickstarter for the movie is successful. With five days left, Monte Cook Games and Swedish film company Valdes/Eriksdotter needs £22,542 to reach its goal. Titled Numenera: Strand, it tells the tale of a drifter who “roams a […]

  • Gran Turismo 6 update adds MINI Clubman Vision, more

    A Mini Cooper has invaded Gran Turismo 6 via a new update. The Mid-Field Raceway track has also been added, and its a new and improved version of the original track from previous Gran Turismos. The new B-Spec Mode feature has also been added which allows the AI driver to race on your behalf. Additional […]

  • Nintendo is bringing New 3DS Xl and some playable titles to PAX East

    Nintendo is bringing New 3DS Xl and Splatoon with it to PAX East next month. The E3 2014 build of the game lets eight players transform into squids in a race for “splattered-paint dominance.” Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. will also be playable and featured in stage presentations at the Nintendo booth. Upcoming or newly released Nintendo […]

  • Battlefield Hardline Premium information seems to have slipped out early

    Battlefield Hardline Premium perks have apparently leaked a bit early, according to a post on Reddit. Over on the Hardline subreddit is an image which was take at a GameStop location, noting two week early access to content additional Battlepacks and more. Here’s the rundown: Four expansions Two weeks early access 12 additional Battlepacks Exclusive […]

  • Final Fantasy: Record Keeper arrives in the US this spring

    Final Fantasy: Record Keeper will be released in the US on iOS and Android this spring, DeNA and Square Enix today. The mobile titles allows players to “relive favorite moments” across all Final Fantasy installments and build a team of classic characters from across the entire franchise. If you sign up for email updates, you […]

  • Battlefield Hardline now available for pre-order, pre-download on Xbox One

    Battlefield Hardline is now available for pre-order and pre-download on Xbox One. You can pre-order it now from the Xbox Store and once you have paid for it, you can start your pre-download. Battlefield Hardline releases on March 17, and will be made available to pre-downloaders come 12.01am EDT. Check pricing and availability for your […]

  • Dying Light interactive video allows you switch between day and night

    A new video for Dying Light has been released, which allows you to hit the Z key to change between day and night. Titles Life and Death in the Quarantine Zone, the interactive story video showcases how the game changes between day and night. Daytime and nighttime are shown side-by-side but the z key allows […]

  • Havoc DLC for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare out on PS3, PS4; PC delayed

    The Havoc DLC for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is now available for PlayStation 3 and PS4. Havoc contains the four multiplayer maps Core, Drift, Sideshow, and Urban along with the AE4 directed energy assault rifle, its custom variant, and the Exo Zombies cooperative mode. You can purchase the DLC separately or pick up the […]

  • Here’s a teaser for Resident Evil Revelations 2: Episode 2

    A teaser video for the second episode of Resident Evil Revelations 2 is available, so if you’ve yet to play the first episode, you may want to skip this. Resident Evil Revelations 2′s first episode is out now. Thanks, GamesHQMedia.

  • North American eShop update is full of Donkey Kong games

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with Titan Attacks, Donkey Kong Land, Donkey Kong Country and more. eShop on 3DS Ironfall Invasion Titan Attacks! Donkey Kong Land – Virtual Console Donkey Kong Land 2 – Virtual Console Donkey Kong Land 3 – Virtual Console Luv Me Buddies Wonderland Around the World […]

  • Venture into the Valley of the Yetis next week in Far Cry 4

    The next batch of Far Cry 4 DLC, Valley of the Yetis, releases in March and Ajay Ghale will be tasked with surviving violent cultists and the mythical Yeti. Apparently the cult is looking for a secret hidden in the valley, and Ajay has discovered their motives. The DLC features co-op with a friend taking […]

  • The Butcher’s AK/CAR Mod Pack out for Payday 2, has dino masks

    The 19th DLC pack for Payday 2 title The Butcher’s AK/CAR Mod Pack is available on Steam from today. The pack will run you $4.99/€4.99 and features: 11 new weapon modifications for the AK rifles in the game 11 new weapon modifications for the CAR rifles in the game Four new masks together with their […]

  • Battle Chasers slated for PC, consoles; comic picks up where 2001 storyline left off

    Darksiders creator Joe Madureira and Vigil co-founder Ryan Stefanelli have confirmed a Battle Chasers game and a new comic are in the works at their new studio Airship Syndicate. Speaking to Polygon, Madureira and Stefanelli wouldn’t provide details on the the game, but did divulge it will be an adventure RPG with player-controlled Battle Chasers […]

  • Shovel Knight, Hotline Miami 2 discounted for Sony’s annual Spring Fever Sale

    Sony is hosting its annual Spring Fever Sale which runs for eight weeks and features a new title each week. The sale starts next week on March 3 with the launch of Helldivers. Here’s just a few items included in the sale: HELLDIVERS (PS4/PS3/PS Vita) March 3 Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number (PS4/PS3/PS Vita) March […]

  • The gold Super Mario amiibo is a Walmart exclusive

    The Super Mario Gold amiibo which surfaced via a CPSIA certificate earlier this month will be a Walmart-exclusive, Nintendo has announced. The gold-colored Mario amiibo will be released the same day as the Mario Party 10 game for Wii U and will run you $12,96 at 3,000 participating Walmart stores in the US. Along with […]

  • Here’s an overview trailer for Final Fantasy Type-0 HD

    As new gameplay overview trailer for Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, culled from the Active Time Report, stream has been sent over by Square Enix. The video provides a look at the history and environments of the Kingdom of Orience; the 14 memebers of Class Zero; the battle system with customizable magic spells; and the ability […]

  • Final Fantasy 15 video gives you a look at the game’s wildlife

    A new video shown by Final Fantasy 15 director Hajime Tabata during the latest Active Time Report, contains a look at the game’s wildlife and ecology. You can watch the full stream two hour stream through here, or a smaller clip courtesy of GamesHQMedia below.

  • Lionhead ventures into the free-to-play space with Fable Legends

    Fable Legends will be free-to-play when it launches on PC and Xbox One. According to Lionhead, the one versus four cross-platform title borrows from MOBA games such as Dota 2 and League of Legends as it will contain free, rotating heroes which will be added to a roster for a two week period. Once the […]

  • Win! 5 pairs of tickets to the Call of Duty European Championships

    We have five pairs of tickets to giveaway for the Call of Duty European Championships, taking place in London this weekend. The event takes place this Saturday February 28 and Sunday March 1 at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. Winners can watch teams will go head to head for a $10,000 prize pot […]

  • Republique Remastered has released on Mac and PC

    Republique Remastered, which was announced earlier this month, is now available for Mac and PC. The game is 20% off through Steam, GOG and the Humble Store for $19.99 until March 4. Thereafter, it will run you $24.99. The Remastered edition contains all five episodes of the game, with 1-3 available now and the remaining […]

  • LA Cops coming to Xbox One in March

    Isometric shooter LA Cops is coming to Xbox One on March 13. Already on Steam Early Access, the game looks like it’s been heavily inspired by Hotline Miami. Walk into a room, open fire, leave bloody puddles in your wake. It’s being published by Team 17. Check out the video below for some 70s cop […]

  • We have $500 of Steam Wallet funds to giveaway!

    We’re giving away 10 Steam Wallet prizes worth $50 each to VG247 readers, courtesy of Bundle Stars. All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning $50 Steam credit is to enter your details below. Join the Bundle Stars Steam group for entry in the sweepstake, and gain extra entries for […]

  • Lapsed Final Fantasy 14 players tempted back with 10 day freebie

    Square is offering lapsed FF 14: A Realm Reborn players a chance to come back to the game for 10 days worth of free adventuring. Provided you’ve already bought and registered an account you’ll be able to play free of charge from Feb 27 to March 9. Square wants you to sample the new content […]

  • Advanced Warfare: Sledgehammer looking at “opportunities” to recreate classic Call of Duty maps

    Sledgehammer Games has told VG247 it’s looking at opportunities to recreate classic Call of Duty maps in Advanced Warfare. According to co-founder Michael Condrey, players of the latest Havoc DLC are asking how Exo abilities and verticality can be added to classic franchise maps. “We’re taking a look at some opportunities to really highlight the […]

  • GTA Online reader playlist week 7: and the winner is…

    Stuff was shot. But only one player emerged victorious. GTA Online player e031271 won last night’s VG247 reader playlist, beating myself, Matt and regulars solidorwot and Revolting. Congratulations, Mr e031271. A deserved victory. We play a GTA Online playlist in an open session every Wednesday on PS4, because it’s both funny and fun. Anyone’s welcome […]

  • Leaked screens reveal The Reef as Destiny’s new “social space”

    A handful of leaked Destiny screens seem to confirm that The Reef location will be the new social space in Destiny. The new addition is likely to be revealed as part of the upcoming House of Wolves expansion. Reddit user Megamanexe4 dropped the screens on the site earlier this morning, along with grabs that reveal […]