Saturday, January 7, 2012
January 1 I received 2 emails from Paypal indicating I had just made 2 purchases from Microsoft, one for 79.99 and one for 49.99. Immediately I logged into xbox.com to look at my xbox account only to discover I no longer existed. I then logged into Paypal and disputed the charges and removed Microsoft from the auto-pay agreement (this was a smart move as they would have spent more I'm sure).
Next I turn on my Xbox, and sure enough I have no live account anymore. I then call Microsoft Live support not knowing what I would get since it was New Year's day and also a Sunday. I actually did talk to a person and they took my console information and basically told me they would submit it to Microsoft Fraud investigation and at that time my account would be locked. Also that I would get an email with a code for 30 days of live service.
It's a good thing I removed the Paypal agreement with Microsoft since it took a few more days for Microsoft to actually lock my account. I know this since my friends could see "me" from the Netherlands online playing FIFA 2012 with 3 achievements. I've never played FIFA.
So that is it for now. It's been 6 days now and based on many user's horror stories I fully expect this to take months. Even though it should be a no-brainer since I told MS my console ID and I never use my gamer tag anywhere else. Obviously they should be able to see my account being accessed from another console.
According to a few other articles posted on this subject that Microsoft has responded to (I will post links at bottom of this post), they blame their customers for this problem. They say the only way this is happening is because of phishing and social engineering! Right! Basically my Windows Live account is what had to be hacked in order for the thief to change the email address associated with my Xbox account (that, or Microsoft Live has been hacked). There's no way I have given out my information with social engineering nor do I have any phishing malware on my computer.
I have no idea how they got my password to Windows Live. Is it because MS support got social engineered because the security questions are lame on there and much of that information could be gleaned from Facebook? Obviously I have since changed my password and security question for Windows live but I still don't feel safe since I have no idea how they accessed this in the first place.
This situation doesn't allow me to use my Zune account or Xbox Live account and no more achievements until my account gets returned to me. I have no desire to set up a new gold account nor do I want to play on Xbox at all unless I am playing on my account! You would think Microsoft would be more motivated to fix this situation quickly so they don't lose good customers. I have been a Gold member since the 360 came out (2005) and have purchased hundreds, if not thousands of dollars with them for DLC and other content.
I believe this problem is much bigger than Microsoft wants everyone to believe. If I can offer any advice here to other console users, change your passwords, change your security questions and make sure this information isn't easily gleaned from other public social sites. Also, remove any associated credit card or paypal information from your account.
By the way, I received the disputed charges back from Paypal the next day. We'll see if Microsoft returns my 3500+ points that were sitting on my account before hacking occurred.
Here are some links to other articles on this same issue (I will update as more come out):
Microsoft Security Checklist
Inside Gaming Daily (Oct 2011)
Joystiq (Jan 4 2012)
Joystiq (Jan 13 2012)
Giant Bomb (Jan 2012)
XboxMB Forum (Jan 2012)
Ars Technica (Oct 2011-with current comments)
G4TV (Oct 2011)
IGN-1UP (Jan 2012)
Game Judgment (Jan 2012)
Edit Jan 9, 2012: I got my Xbox account back last night from Xbox support. I must commend them for an 8 day turnaround on this. I still have not received my 3500+ points that were spent on FIFA dlc though. Also, it will take 30 days for me to re-associate my Xbox account with my original Windows Live account.
Edit Jan 24, 2012: I had heard nothing back from Microsoft concerning my lost points so I called on Jan 18th and they set up a new escalated support ticket. On Jan 24 I received an email with 3 codes to get a total of 3,600 points, 80 extra from what was taken from me. The lesson learned in this process, besides making sure you have a unique password for different websites, is that you have to keep pursuing Microsoft support to get all items taken care of.
I have to admit that this was all handled better and faster than I had expected and the only thing left is for me to transfer my account back to my original Windows Live id, which I have to wait for a full 30 days to do so. I do still question whether there are security vulnerabilities with the Windows Live log in as reported by the last Joystiq article on this subject. Though I still recommend setting up all the security options within the Live interface as it would make it more difficult to hack.
Happy gaming and Stay Safe!
Monday, November 28, 2011
My high elf is around level 40 now and I am still attempting to play a 'good' character. However, the few daedric quests I've done have made me wonder if there is any 'good' way to complete them. And the main quest has made me deal with the thieves guild though I still am undecided how far I will go with them since stealing isn't my character's thing but I did have to agree to helping the guild in order to move on the main quest.
I am not using any cheats or glitches to ramp up my levels or make the game easier in any way but occasionally I do have to refer to the strategy guide. In case you want to view some of the cheats here's a link to get you started at gamefaqs. Personally, I would rather get everything the old fashion way-questing and discovery but understand that not all gamers enjoy this type of 'slow' game play.
Skyrim is a HUGE game world! And thanks to the folks over at Gamebanshee they have put together an awesome map if you're interested. There are so many locations in Skyrim it's overwhelming at times. I think I've clocked around 80 hours of game play and my in-game map is hardly filled in compared to their map. Thank goodness I'm not a completionist or I might just go mad trying to do everything this game has to offer!
Shoot me a tweet (@Sard_RPGer) or leave a comment if you have anything specific you want me to discuss on this Skyrim blog.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
But first I must figure out what is wrong with me since everyone I meet tells me I look awful, pale and ready to drop dead. I'm an experimental alchemist and tend to eat one of everything I pick to see what effects it has. I'm sure I ate something on my way here that diseased me in some way. Whatever caused this is surely the cure for it as well. Note to self, I must get better at alchemy. In the meantime though, I find a store that sells all sorts of concoctions and I scrounge to pay the 200 to purchase a 'cure-all-disease' potion. Yep, that did the trick! Now I'm on my way to see the Jarl at the top tier of the town.
To be continued....................