Social hackers using Microsoft customer service to gain access to accounts

When traditionally talking about hacking I envision that it’s all about funny DOS screens and wire-exposed gadgetry. Apparently, that’s not how it is done when it comes to nefarious people accessing Xbox Live account information. MTV is reporting that earlier this month Halo 3 multiplayer producer Joe Tung was a victim of a different form of hacking called social engineering.

The basic idea is that a jerk picks up a phone, calls tech support, and gains access to your account by tricking the phone representative into handing out password information. It’s quick, simple, and horribly easy to do. Naturally, being a consistently popular game on Xbox Live has its repercussions, and a Bungie employee has had to deal with this problem directly. His issue has hit close to home for the majority of Halo fans, and the ramifications of the actions of these social hackers is being felt throughout their community.

What can a person do to prevent this? Almost nothing can be done other than refraining from ticking off the crazier denizens of Xbox Live. Honestly, this is my worst nightmare. I went through a spell over the course of three months where I had to get six Xbox 360s replaced. The majority of the time I would get a massive amount of questions asked to confirm my identity, but I remember that once I practically bypassed the routine because the representative didn’t feel like asking.

And what if this happens to you? You can try to call customer service, but if the hacker is sly, all of your information will be changed. That means you’ll have to socially engineer your way into your own account, or find a representative that is willing to work with your issue. Either way, this is a scary circumstance, and let’s hope Microsoft figures out a way to stop it.

Brad BradNicholson