Microsoft addresses XBL account thefts

Xbox 360 maker acknowledges "surge of personal information being compromised and sold," suggests changing passwords and not putting info on social networks.

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Microsoft is once again addressing the issue of stolen Xbox Live accounts, and while the company is still insisting security for the online gaming service hasn't been compromised, it is at least acknowledging the problem more directly.

Identity theft on Xbox Live means more than just a copied avatar.
Identity theft on Xbox Live means more than just a copied avatar.

Xbox Live general manager Alex Garden today released a statement addressing Internet-wide concerns about security, saying, "Last year, there was a surge of personal information being compromised and sold, and this undoubtedly has had an impact on all of us." He reiterated that Xbox Live hasn't suffered a security breach but acknowledged "that is of little comfort to our members whose accounts have been compromised by malicious and illegal attacks."

As for what Microsoft is doing about the attacks, Garden said the company is working to improve its security constantly. The company is also working to reduce wait times for recovering accounts and issuing refunds for unauthorized charges made on them. Garden said in most new fraud cases, the proper users have control of their accounts again within three days of a complaint being made to Microsoft.

Additionally, Garden stressed that Xbox Live subscribers should implement a handful of best practices that will make their accounts less likely to fall victim to scams, phishing sites, and malware. He suggested creating strong passwords for accounts, not using the same passwords for multiple services, routinely changing them, adding phone numbers and alternate email addresses to the account, and not sharing personal information online or on social networks. He did not suggest removing credit card information from an Xbox Live account.

"We do not take lightly the frustrations we've heard from our loyal Xbox Live members and remain committed to addressing and persistently resolving our customers' individual and collective concerns," Garden said.

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