Sony Messed Up, But They Aren't Alone

By Colin Tan on April 27, 2011, 6:53PM EDT

The PlayStation Network is still down, leaving many an upset user frustrated and angry. Some say Sony have dropped the ball with PSN, failed their customers, and to a certain degree, they definitely have. Let's not forget though, that "unauthorized intrusions" like this isn't isolated or exclusive to Sony. They're usually targeted at huge corporations. It's a risk that is expected in this generation of digital commerce. Amazon have suffered from problems like this, as has Google, World of Warcraft accounts get hacked all the time, probably on a daily basis, but let's take a look at another corporate conglomerate that's a bit closer to home and on the same playing field as Sony: Microsoft.

Neither the PS3 nor the Xbox 360 can be called the most perfect little things. PSN has been compromised, with the latest update warning users of potential theft of personal information and credit card information, advising them to take the appropriate steps to prevent identity theft and financial loss. To be frank, it is a big pain in the ballsack, but shit happens. Quit complaining, take the necessary steps to avoid any loss and move on. Everyone seemed to do so with the many occasions when Microsoft's own Xbox Live was compromised - and I stress many occasions.

March of 2007. Xbox Live hacked, accounts stolen. Users raised the issue of a possible breach of Xbox Live when accounts started being "hijacked," most notably accounts linked with Windows Live ID. Online forums went rather crazy with users reporting about the breach, with some individuals having the Microsoft Points stolen or more points bought through their gamer tags. Microsoft Support wasn't the most helpful, saying that Windows Live ID can neither be stolen nor changed. In addition, a Microsoft Tech even went as far as saying that nothing could be done on their side.

Early 2008. Xbox Live down for two weeks, with intermittent access. It's a pain in the bullocks whenever an online service goes down, no matter the service provider. I know if my ISP goes down for even two hours, tables will be flipped. Xbox Live had gone down for quite a period back at the beginning of 2008. Even when it returned, its services were on and off, preventing any real fun to be had and causing more frustrations than relief. "Users may experience difficulties when matchmaking and using client voice communication within Xbox Live," now I'm not sure about you, but I'm pretty sure matchmaking is a pretty big part of the competitive online space and without it, you might as well just stick to offline gaming. PSN is currently on a week of downtime and counting, but don't forget that Xbox Live is a paid service, especially for those that enjoy playing online with the massive community.

Now here comes the kicker. Major Nelson, Larry Hryb, director of Xbox Live, gets his account hacked back in March of last year. This was a case where it seemed like Major Nelson was specifically targeted by the hacker. The hacker had written a number of messages using the Major's account. He even went as far as to offer to hack other Live accounts for 60 big ones, as well as promoting his Skype name and putting up YouTube videos of his mad skills. Stephen Toulouse, director of policy and enforcement for Xbox Live, said the hack was "very specific" and "targeted," essentially saying that if the hacker wanted to, he could have the accounts of others at his mercy and disposal.

Just last month, it was reported that Microsoft had lost quite a bit of money thanks to a "free Microsoft Points" exploit. Hackers discovered an algorithm that they could use to add onto existing codes to get new ones, essentially giving them access to an unlimited amount of MSPs. Microsoft managed to stop the exploit, but not before losing some dough.

As mentioned earlier, PSN has suffered quite a major blow, with the potential theft of both personal and credit card information of its users, which is a huge pain the ass. Ironically, Microsoft have just issued a Service Alert to all Xbox Live users warning them of a similarly potential breach in Live - again. So far, they have yet to confirm if credit card information is at stake, but hackers are apparently using a Modern Warfare 2 exploit in order to perform some good old phishing scams.

You might want to stay clear of any Call of Duty games for now.

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