Reminder folks, change your Xbox passwords!

by: Nathan -
Just a friendly reminder to all Xbox gamers, it would be a really good idea to change your passwords as Microsoft has been working hard to make sure a fiasco like the PSN outage last year doesn't happen To their system. Alex Garden of Xbox Live details how the company has been taking steps to protect customer security such as
  • quickly locking down accounts that may be compromised 
  • taking legal action to pull down any gamertags, usernames or passwords that may have been compromised by malware or phishing schemes
  • The Spring update which included many security improvements
  • Sending unique codes to security phone numbers and email addresses 
  • Working hard to reduce market incentives for criminal activity 
  • Encouraging customers to have valid, up to date security info

Please be sure to read this letter sent out by Alex Garden, General Manager at Xbox LIVE for full details. 
A guest post by Xbox LIVE General Manager Alex Garden on security improvements at Xbox, and how you can help protect your account.

Earlier this year, I wrote to you about our ongoing efforts to help protect the account security of our nearly 40 million Xbox LIVE members. I received hundreds of emails and the responses ranged from frustration to support, as well as suggestions for making Xbox LIVE the best service it can be. The feedback was great and I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to reach out. This experience has reinforced our belief that Xbox LIVE is not simply an online service but a community built upon the trust and investment of its members.

That’s why I’m pleased to report we’ve worked hard these last several months to further protect our members’ accounts, and more is still to come.  Here are some things we’ve done since I last wrote:

We’ve increased notifications to members whose accounts may be compromised to add proofs, update their passwords, and, if necessary, contact Xbox support. This helps our team lock down an account quickly, investigate and restore the account to the rightful owner.

We’ve taken legal action to pull down online posts of gamertags, usernames and passwords gathered from malware or phishing schemes to help protect our members.

Our Xbox LIVE Spring update included many behind the scenes improvements that help us build on security enhancements for the near future.

We’re sending unique codes to the security phone numbers and secondary email addresses provided by members to verify authorization for Xbox.com purchases or account change attempts not stemming from a member’s trusted device.

We’re working to reduce market incentives for criminal activity. Engaging in identity theft, trading in stolen accounts and committing credit card fraud are illegal and violate our Terms of Use. Those involved in these activities risk criminal prosecution, account and console bans. That goes for both sellers and buyers of known stolen accounts and content.

Most importantly, many of our security enhancements and recovery processes are dependent on our members having valid, up-to-date security information in place. I encourage everyone to take five minutes today to check your security information and update it if necessary. If you have any lost or stolen security proofs, update them now to prevent any interruptions to your Xbox LIVE service in the future. We only use this information for your security, and never for marketing or advertising.

It’s a good idea to change your password if you haven’t done so recently, and make sure to use a different username and password for Microsoft versus other online services you access. This way if one company does experience a security breach, your leaked credentials won’t be used against you on other sites. Finally, help the people in your life who may be less security savvy by sharing suggestions like not using common words for passwords. Sadly, “password” and “12345” are still top of the most common password lists when we see breaches occur and passwords posted online.

The Internet has transformed the way we purchase goods and services and added layers of convenience to our lives. Yet, disappointingly, online fraud increasingly victimizes millions of unsuspecting consumers each year. The organized groups of criminals involved do not care about the time or expense experienced by individuals they’ve attacked; or the billions in currency global companies and financial institutions absorb each year from their illegal activities. In the end, all of us pay a high price for online fraud.

That is why our resolve at Microsoft to battle fraud and our commitment to account security is stronger than ever. I hope you’ll take a few moments to protect your account today and as always, I welcome you to share your views or concerns with me as we move forward together.

Alex Garden
Email: Alex dot Garden at Microsoft dot com
General Manager, Xbox LIVE
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