The Art of Recovery: Microsoft Says Changes Mean Faster Returns for Stolen XBL Accounts
While the gaming industry is still reeling from trying to figure out ways to fight game piracy, Microsoft is attempting to quell a larger problem. Early last year, Sony suffered a spate of account thefts thanks to some security flaws, but Xbox Live has been suffering from the same problem for quite some time. It isn’t until recently that it has become a large problem.
Earlier this week, Microsoft released a statement saying that they have made vast improvements to the technique used to handle Xbox Live accounts that have been compromised. In a majority of scenarios, most of the stolen accounts have been returned to their rightful owners, often within just three days.
In a post on Major Nelson‘s blog, Xbox Live’s general manager Alex Garden said that while there has been a spike in compromised accounts on the service, there was no breach in security on Xbox Live despite several rumors claiming otherwise. “Last year, there was a surge of personal information being compromised and sold, and this undoubtedly has had an impact on all of us,” wrote Garden. “While we here at Xbox have no evidence of a security breach in the Xbox LIVE service, that is of little comfort to our members whose accounts have been compromised by malicious and illegal attacks.
“Security is an ongoing battle. No matter how well we work to improve security – and we are working every day to bring new forms of protection to Xbox LIVE – our work will never end. With every measure we put in place, ill-intentioned people will create new ways to attack online services.”
Garden went on to say that while the Xbox Live teams are working hard to protect users, sometimes it’s better if account holders themselves create security measures to make hacking that much harder. It’s common sense that comes with the territory, and Garden says that those of us who have strong safeguards on our accounts will often see a return within 24 hours.
“Recovering compromised accounts – in a timely manner – is also a priority and an area where we’ve made, and will continue to make, improvements,” said Garden. “We have invested more resources in our account recovery process and as a result, for most new fraud cases we are now able to investigate and return accounts within three days. For users who have added strong proofs to their accounts, this may be as fast as 24 hours. We still have a few cases that are taking longer to fully recover and some refunds are still being processed, but we’re making great strides. We hope our customers are experiencing the improvements firsthand.”
It’s a vast improvement over the initial 25-day period Microsoft had been telling customers. There are still some users who claim that their accounts are still in limbo more than a month since first reporting it to the company, but some improvement is better than none. Just keep your personal information under lock and key, won’t you?
To read the full letter from Xbox Live, head over to Major Nelson’s blog.