Xbox Live hacks sees Microsoft promise 'aggressive' action

The boss of Xbox Live promises aggressive action against cybercriminals targeting gamers for millions of pounds.

Microsoft has acknowledged the spate of attacks against Xbox gamers. The boss of Xbox Live promises aggressive action against cybercriminals targeting gamers for millions of pounds.

In an open letter to Xbox Live users, Xboss Alex Garden assured gamers, "We take your security and online safety very seriously." Acknowledging that account hacking is a thriving business, he promises "aggressive steps to help protect you against ever-changing threats".

Microsoft also promises to improve the rate at which it sorts out compromised accounts, claiming hacked accounts can now be investigated and returned in three days.

The letter doesn't specifically mention recent cases of cybercriminals tricking users into spending money on achievements, with much attention centred on FIFA 12

Microsoft highlights the tips at to avoid common methods for compromising accounts, such as phishing (tricking the user into entering their details into a fake website), spyware and malware (software that records a user's password) or simply trying the same password from another online service that has been breached separately.

That last point highlights the importance of using unique passwords for your different accounts. You don't want all your accounts compromised just because your PlayStation Network password was stolen.

A repeat of the infamous Sony PlayStation Network hack is the worst-case scenario for Xbox Live and other services. The PSN was cracked by hackers and personal details of over 70 million gamers were half-inched, leaving the network closed for over a month as Sony desperately scrabbled to work out what happened and close the loophole.

So far Xbox Live hasn't been directly hacked like PSN was, but that's not to say no-one's trying. And meanwhile hackers continue to crack individual gamers' accounts. Be careful out there, guys!

Have you ever been hacked? What extra steps do you take to ensure you're secure? Tell us in the comments or on our Facebook page.

About the author

Rich Trenholm is a senior editor at CNET where he covers everything from phones to bionic implants. Based in London since 2007, he has travelled the world seeking out the latest and best consumer technology for your enjoyment.


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