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Xbox Live Security Breach Clarified As Pretexting

Microsoft spokesperson Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb has further clarified <a href="http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=13237">reports last week</a> of a security breach on the Xbox 360's online service, revealing that Xbox Live itself had n

David Jenkins, Blogger

March 26, 2007

1 Min Read

Well known Xbox Live spokesman Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb has further clarified reports last week of a security breach on Xbox Live after previously stating that there was no evidence of any compromise of security. Speaking again in his widely read blog, Hryb went into further detail on the incident: “As originally posted, Xbox Live has not been hacked. That is still true. A security researcher, Kevin Finisterre, discovered not a hack, but the fact that some accounts may have been compromised as a result of 'social engineering', also known as ‘pre-texting’, through our support center.” Pre-texting is an increasing common technique for obtaining secure personal details using publicly available details, such as a member of the public’s date of birth or social security number. It can also involve impersonating authority figures such as the police or bank staff. The tactic of pre-texting occurs predominately over the telephone, and Hryb indicates that Xbox Live call staff are being re-trained in order to avoid similar problems in the future. Hryb ended his comments by stating, “There's no other way to say it; this situation shouldn't have happened. Our customers deserve better.” Initial reports had suggested that website Bungie.net and Xbox Live itself had been hacked. But the pre-texting explanation implies that the security breach was not of a technical nature, and that Microsoft has simply been the victim of a form of fraud common to many other businesses.

About the Author(s)

David Jenkins


David Jenkins ([email protected]) is a freelance writer and journalist working in the UK. As well as being a regular news contributor to Gamasutra.com, he also writes for newsstand magazines Cube, Games TM and Edge, in addition to working for companies including BBC Worldwide, Disney, Amazon and Telewest.

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