Don’t Let it Happen to You: Tips for Staying Safe on Xbox LIVE, and What’s Being Done to Protect You
With the recent occurrence of the PlayStation Network breach, it has left others asking whether or not Xbox LIVE could suffer from the same fate. While Sony has yet to explain what happened, they have left it at a “criminal cyber-attack on the company’s data-center located in San Diego, California.” It is unlikely that Sony will ever detail what actually occurred, but they assured their users that they have “implemented a variety of new security measures to provide greater protection of personal information.”
To see what Microsoft is doing to proactively protect their some 30 million Xbox LIVE users, I asked how safe Xbox LIVE was in terms of security. “The security around our Xbox LIVE service and member information is our highest priority,” replied a Microsoft spokesperson. “While we don’t share specific details, we invest considerable resources to preserve network safety and ensure customer information remains secure.”
Online Safety Tips for Xbox LIVE
While it sounds as though Microsoft is making sure their Xbox LIVE network is as safe as can be, there are still those who will always remain worried as to whether or not their information could be stolen online. The Microsoft spokesperson detailed some steps that any, and all, Xbox LIVE users can, and should, take to protect their information online.
- Use a strong password – As always, be sure to use a strong password that contains a mixture of uppercase and lowercase letters, along with numbers and special characters (such as: #, $, %, ^, &, and *).
- Change your password and secret question often – Be sure to change your password and your secret question and answer often. The spokesperson notes that you can choose to make your password expire every 72 days.
- Never share your password – Never share your Windows Live ID password with anyone, ever, under any circumstance!
- Only share your Windows Live ID with those you know – It is not recommended that you share your Windows Live ID with anyone except people you know personally, like friends and business contacts.
- A good secret question – Be sure to use a secret question and a secret answer that only you know. There always seems to be a secret question option of “Where were you born?” which is probably not a very good choice.
- Keep your Windows Live ID safe – This coincides with #4, which is to not supply your Windows Live ID to unknown websites, businesses, or forums.
- Beware of impersonators – There are always people ready to con others into sharing personal information, such as passwords, by impersonating a customer support agent or some other person affiliated with Xbox or Microsoft. If you are worried as to whether or not they are legitimate, you are asked to directly contact Xbox Support by calling 800-4-MY-XBOX (800-469-9269) in the U.S. For those that are in other parts of the world, visit www.xbox.com/contactinfo for the appropriate contacts.
If that’s not enough for you, there are even more security precautions you can take by visiting the Account security for Xbox LIVE page.
Removing Credit Card Information from Xbox LIVE
Some 10 million credit card numbers could have been compromised during the PlayStation Network breach, according to Kotaku. Xbox LIVE can also store credit card information as well, which may leave people uneasy storing the information online in case of an attack on Microsoft’s Xbox LIVE network, to which the Microsoft spokesperson said the same thing: “The security around our Xbox LIVE service and member information is our highest priority. While we don’t share specific details, we invest considerable resources to preserve network safety and ensure customer information remains secure.”
As mentioned, Xbox LIVE can store credit card information, but you can choose not to. This of course will require you to manually repurchase your subscription or enter your credit card information whenever required, but it can add peace of mind.
To get your credit card information removed from your account you can call 800-4-MY-XBOX, or visit www.xbox.com/contactinfo for those that are outside of the U.S., for no charge.
There is no definitive answer as to whether or not Xbox LIVE could fall to a “criminal cyber-attack” such as the PlayStation Network, but we do know that Microsoft is making sure they are doing everything they can to keep member information safe and secure.