I caught some interesting tweets on Twitter this morning from various Microsoft employees discussing the matter of Major Nelson's Xbox Live account being hacked.



While the initial buzz seems to have died down and only a handful of the video game news sites I follow even mentioned it all, I'm still going to blog about it for the simple fact that it happened to me before - and it's enough to make a person very angry.



For those who aren't familiar with Major Nelson:



Larry Hryb (pronounced "Herb"), also known by his Xbox Live gamertag Major Nelson, is the Director of Programming for the Microsoft gaming network Xbox Live. His blog "Xbox Live's Major Nelson" provides an "inside" look at operations at Microsoft's Xbox division.



So, apparently from what I've read a hacker breaks into Microsoft's Director of Programming for Xbox Live, changes his profile information to read something less than pleasant, makes a YouTube video of this illicit activity and is willing to show others how to do it for $60 bucks.



One can only imagine the embarrassment Microsoft must feel when one of their employees, especially the one in charge of Xbox Live, get's his account hacked. The Microsoft Team associated with Major seem to have downplayed the whole ordeal, but I've heard (thru Twitter and their podcasts) how annoyed these same MS employees got when they were in a server with some gamers using the Javelin glitch on Modern Warfare 2. I believe the discussion went along the lines of, "these players had their accounts banned immediately, right there on the spot". Must be nice to have that kind of power, eh?


I feel sorry for Major, I really do. He sounds like a likable fellow and is definitely enthusiastic about his games, but the truth is, this kind of activity goes on all the time to us "common gamers". I don't know that I would classify it as an epidemic, but if an average gamer like me has had it happen and I've talked to a few people who have had it happen, then chances are either you or someone you know has had it happen. If that's not the case, consider yourself lucky, because when it does happen, it just flat out straight up sucks.



My concern and the whole reason I wanted to blog about this is because, I'm a little disappointed that when this happens, there isn't (a) any readily available guidance to tell you how to respond and/or recover your profile (b) there isn't any real action you can take against the perpetrators. While this is true of other online crimes and exploits, I'm only going to focus on the gaming aspect since this is a gaming site.



When it happened to me (it was actually my daughter's Xbox Live account) I was fairly certain who it was - it was this guy that was on my daughter's friends list who got mad at her for having some other guy on her friends list. I know - petty high school relationships, right. Sheesh, when I was a kid growing up, they just spread rumors about one another on the bathroom wall, but apparently now they hack your profile and write all kinds of trash about you, which is exactly what this young man did about my daughter.



Of course I was outraged when it happened and thankfully this kid lived many states away or else I might be typing this from the confines of a crowded jail cell with my new best friend, Bubba.



But once I started trying to recover everything, I got even angrier. You can't call the cops, FBI, CIA, Secret Service, Men in Black or anyone else to tell them somebody hacked your video game account and expect to get any kind of legitimate response. I suppose you could try and call them, but my guess is they would probably laugh at you. Trying to wade through the myriad of online troubleshooting guides and FAQs to get assistance is also equally challenging and head ache inducing. You can always try and call their support line, but that didn't seem to get me anywhere but more angry. Oh, it got me somewhere, a call center located in BFE.



While Major Nelson didn't even have to make a phone call before his cronies were restoring power and busting heads together, not all of us have that luxury.


There has to be a better way to report and restore a compromised account; and there has to be stiff punishments for these criminals that think its okay to hijack a person's private property and act like it's not a big deal since it's just for a gaming system.



I recommend disintegration...