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Xbox Live gamers targeted for 'millions of pounds'

Xbox Live has been targeted and millions of pounds stolen from gamers.

On our tenth birthday we had a clown who smelled funny and fell asleep in the paddling pool, but that's nothing on the disastrous tenth birthday of the Xbox being reported in the papers today, as the Sun, Telegraph and others report Xbox Live has been targeted, and millions of pounds stolen from gamers.

Microsoft's online gaming community has reportedly been hit by thieves who launched email phishing attacks on thousands of Xbox users in 35 countries. The Sun claims hapless British Xboxers, tempted by the promise of free Microsoft points, have been relieved of an average of £100, but we're at a loss as to where that figure has come from.

The money was taken in small amounts so it was harder to spot, and some gamers have had more than £200 stolen. Although the mainstream press is claiming Xbox Live has been hacked, that's stretching the definition of hacking, as the service itself hasn't been breached.

Phishing scams involve prompting users to give their card details to fake websites or share details in emails purporting to be official. Be careful out there folks: stick to official channels and never respond to emails asking for personal details. That goes for any emails or websites, not just those related to Xbox Live or gaming.

More sinister are reports that scammers befriended gamers and duped them into volunteering personal information. So watch what you're saying to your fragging buddies -- probably best to stick to the politically incorrect insults.

Some users also reckon they've been hit by scammers using their accounts to get bonus bits and bobs for footie game FIFA 12, although Microsoft insists the network itself hasn't been compromised.

The folks at Xbox headquarters must dread the headlines being bandied about by the mainstream press. They certainly don't want to be associated with the disaster encountered by Sony when the PlayStation Network database was hacked earlier this year and the details of millions of gamers were half-inched.

Have you been hit by gaming hackers? Tell us how much you were stung for in the comments below, on our Facebook page.