Beware: Your Old Xbox Stores Personal Information

Greg Tito

PR for Dungeons & Dragons
Sep 29, 2005
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Beware: Your Old Xbox Stores Personal Information



You should think about smashing your old Xbox 360 with a hammer. Seriously.

It's happened to a few of us. Your Xbox isn't getting enough use to justify the space on your entertainment center so you sell it on EBay, or maybe you trade it in to upgrade to a fancy "slim" model. Or you pawn it to pay for hookers and blow. Whatever the cause of getting rid of your Xbox, you will be frightened to learn that all of your personal information is stored on the console's hard drive - even if you wipe the drive clean. Ashley Podhradsky from Drexel University in Philadelphia experimented with common tools and applications on a refurbished Xbox 360 and easily grabbed the previous owner's sensitive bits like credit card number, address and real name. She claims Microsoft should do a better job of keeping your credit card numbers secure.

"Microsoft does a great job of protecting their proprietary information," Podhradsky said. "But they don't do a great job of protecting the user's data. Anyone can freely download a lot of this software, essentially pick up a discarded game console, and have someone's identity."

She recommends removing your Xbox hard drive and wiping it clean with a specific formatting application like Boot and Nuke [http://www.dban.org/] to completely erase information from the magnetic disks. In fact, you should use this kind of application whenever you want to discard old hard drives and your worried about someone nicking your CC number.

"I think Microsoft has a longstanding pattern of this," Podhradsky said. "When you go and reformat your computer, like a Windows system, it tells you that all of your data will be erased. In actuality that's not accurate - the data is still available."

While the more enterprising hackers might still be able to piece them together, I still recommend the old sledgehammer method. It's good to be a gangster. [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5orss3fAEU]

Source: Kotaku [http://kotaku.com/5897461/hackers-can-steal-credit-card-information-from-your-old-xbox-experts-tell-us]


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Fappy

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May 1, 2020
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My friend just recently sold his Xbox to Gamestop for a new one... he's going to just love this :p
 

Agent Larkin

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Apr 6, 2009
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Ehm... the picture is kinda misleading. Is it a case of the newer non-detachable hard drive xbox's or the older one?

Cause if it's the older ones me and my Gen1 360 may have to talk.
 

Mrsoupcup

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Jan 13, 2009
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Well fuck, I recently upgraded to a slim.

Guess it's time to break out the tinfoil and change some passwords.
 

SageRuffin

M-f-ing Jedi Master
Dec 19, 2009
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Agent Larkin said:
Ehm... the picture is kinda misleading. Is it a case of the newer non-detachable hard drive xbox's or the older one?

Cause if it's the older ones me and my Gen1 360 may have to talk.
You can remove it. It's just located within the system itself; that's why you don't see it.
 

Agent Larkin

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Apr 6, 2009
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SageRuffin said:
Agent Larkin said:
Ehm... the picture is kinda misleading. Is it a case of the newer non-detachable hard drive xbox's or the older one?

Cause if it's the older ones me and my Gen1 360 may have to talk.
You can remove it. It's just located within the system itself; that's why you don't see it.
Ah. Ok now the article makes a lot more sense.
 

CardinalPiggles

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Jun 24, 2010
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Glad I have never sold or traded in my old Xbox's because they're all broken.

Good job MS.

Also, isn't this just going to make things more dangerous? Now those scumbags who think it's ok to steal from other people are going to be more aware, and likely to try it with Xbox's people already have traded in. Whilst the people who don't see this research are going to continue to give away their Xbox's.

*sigh* this world we live in.
 

Rad Party God

Party like it's 2010!
Feb 23, 2010
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Uh oh... shit... does this affect the guys that only used prepaid Microsoft Points cards too?, if it doesn't, then I don't have anything to worry about... but if it does... I'll need to change a few things, just to make sure.
 

Skops

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Mar 9, 2010
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So for my own financial saftey, I should track down where my old 360 went, break in, and destroy it.

Challenge accepted.
 

Greg Tito

PR for Dungeons & Dragons
Sep 29, 2005
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Agent Larkin said:
Ehm... the picture is kinda misleading. Is it a case of the newer non-detachable hard drive xbox's or the older one?

Cause if it's the older ones me and my Gen1 360 may have to talk.
I believe it is all Xboxes, but the older ones are little easier to deal with because of the detachable hard drive thing.

Greg
 

Proverbial Jon

Not evil, just mildly malevolent
Nov 10, 2009
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Zen Toombs said:
This is... problematic.
Indeed...



I had to dispose of my previous Xbox 360 due to terminal RROD syndrome. Luckily I kept hold of the hard drive so no problem there. I'm starting to distrust these games consoles less and less with my details of late... what with this and the whole PSN thing last year.
 

Zen Toombs

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Nov 7, 2011
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Proverbial Jon said:
Zen Toombs said:
This is... problematic.
Indeed...



I had to dispose of my previous Xbox 360 due to terminal RROD syndrome. Luckily I kept hold of the hard drive so no problem there. I'm starting to distrust these games consoles less and less with my details of late... what with this and the whole PSN thing last year.
Solution found! Console is [small]flammable! or inflammable. forget which.[/small] Doesn't matter!
 

weirdee

Swamp Weather Balloon Gas
Apr 11, 2011
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i personally prefer my giant and menacing magnet, although it's more useful in negotiation rather than elimination
 

subtlefuge

Lord Cromulent
May 21, 2010
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I just use a prepaid Visa gift card for my purchases. If someone wants to steal that card number, let them keep the $7.50.
 

Kargathia

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Jul 16, 2009
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Agent Larkin said:
Ehm... the picture is kinda misleading. Is it a case of the newer non-detachable hard drive xbox's or the older one?

Cause if it's the older ones me and my Gen1 360 may have to talk.
Both. It's not like Microsoft has changed their default way to handle data deletion since... about the dawn of time.
 

shintakie10

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Sep 3, 2008
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Thats...umm...huh.

I'm suddenly very glad that I never sold an xbox before. Thought about it, then decided the effort wasn't worth the 30 bucks.
 

Pandora92

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Apr 2, 2010
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Hard-drives don't completely delete data by just hitting the delete command and still store the data magnetically until you properly wipe them!? More news at 11.

(No offence, but most people really should know this by now, although sadly they don't seem to.)

Also this isn't really Microsoft's fault, it's just the way physical hard-drives work, it's the same as giving away an old PC, and it probably works the same for PS3 if you're willing to go probing.