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Old Xboxes May Contain Card Data

Xbox Live accounts pose ID theft risk

Friday, March 30, 2012
Old Xboxes May Contain Card DataConsumers who have an old Xbox 360 lying around their house may want to be careful about what they do with it, as data saved on it might pose a fraud risk.

Research from Drexel University revealed that even if consumers reset their Xbox 360 to factory settings, it may still retain some of the data it stores, according to a report from the video game news site Kotaku. Hackers armed with a few everyday tools and a little bit of knowhow can mine even "cleared" Xboxes for credit card information and other sensitive data.

"Microsoft does a great job of protecting their proprietary information," researcher Ashley Podhradsky told the site. "But they don't do a great job of protecting the user's data."

As part of the study, researchers bought a refurbished Xbox 360 from an authorized retailer, then downloaded a basic modding tool and used it to crack the console's hard drive, the report said. In doing so, they were able to identify its original owner and extract his or her credit card data.

Ondrej Krehel, chief information security officer for Identity Theft 911, has a blog about how consumers can better protect their sensitive data.

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