As you may know, our Geeky Family recently moved from Wisconsin to Pennsylvania. This involved many Geeky things, not the least of which was making sure we got internet set up as soon as possible. I even thought about bribing the Comcast installation guy with massive amounts of chocolate and/or pizza if it meant he’d come to my house sooner. The only problem is that I haven’t found THE pizza place in our new town yet. Significantly more tests to the city’s pizza parlors, of course, are required to make a final judgment.
Anyhow, with no internet, I naturally had no XBox Live. I couldn’t find the 360s that had been packed safely away in moving boxes anyway. Yes, this was a tremendous blow to my Geek Points. I plead guilty. Setting up the computers and the kitchen (in that order) came first.
I had read about XBL hackings happening thanks to some Ars Technica articles. I have a gamer tag in my signature on Lotus Fleet. Imagine my surprise when I was commenting on some Star Trek post, and then noticed that FIFA 12 had showed up in my sig pic. I had not bought FIFA12. The only ‘football’ in the world is what the Chicago Bears play. Nonetheless, my gamertag showed I’d made the purchase, and now even had several achievements for a game that interests me only slightly more than golf. With the 360s still packed away. I knew right then my account was hacked.
The first thing I did was call XBL’s customer support. A very delightful lady named Kathleen helped me out, making sure the account was canceled and that my credit card was removed from the profile so the hackers couldn’t use it. Whatever Microsoft is paying her, it’s not enough. She’s outstanding at customer service. Kudos to her! I also called the bank and canceled the credit card, and then changed both my XBL and my hotmail passwords. I had some strong passwords, but apparently not strong enough.
There is some discussion on whether this is linked to EA or not. I’m not sure on that one. My EA master account isn’t the same name and certainly does not have the same password. From what I’m reading about the sheer number of hackings, I suspect that Microsoft got hacked themselves, or hackers have found a security hole somewhere. In any case, both MS and EA are being very, very quiet about this.
I’ve managed to finally locate one of my 360s, so tomorrow will be the adventure in contacting XBL customer support again. I hope Kathleen is there tomorrow.
Edit: I had to find both Xboxes and get the console numbers off both. Xbox confirmed that I’d been hacked–no surprise there. They also told me it would take about 3 weeks to fully investigate the hackings before they could restore my account. It did take about 18 or so days before I was able to restore the account. All my points got refunded to me, and MS gave me an extra month of XBL to cover the lost time. Restoring the account, once I received the email instructions, was very easy.
Microsoft and EA: I’m seeing a lot more reports of this on Twitter and Facebook. You have a big security problem. Please fix it before more of us suffer hackings.