Sunday, January 8, 2012

XBox 360 Hacked Account Still Not Resolved

After seeing an article on January 6, 2012, about someone else having their account hacked on the Kotaku gaming news site, and having read her account here, and now on I've decided to rewrite my post, including some actual dates to try to make things a little more specific, and possibly try to take some of the emotion out of it, so that it's just the facts.

UPDATE: After over 6 months it appears that my case has been resolved.

September 22, 2011: I awoke to find 3 emails from Microsoft with the receipts for purchasing the largest points bundle available, totalling nearly $300.  I immediately went to the computer to change my password.  When I logged into the XBox site, the whole thing switched to Russian, so that I was unable to change the password as I couldn't navigate.  So, instead I phoned support to report my account as being hacked.  After jumping through all the hoops, he told me my account would be locked, and that the investigation would take approximately 20 - 25 days, and that I would be refunded at the end of the investigation.

September 24, 2011: I called support again to verify that the quoted 20 - 25 days was business days, and that I would be receiving an email on the alternate email address I had provided when the investigation was complete, along with instructions on recovering my account.

October 14, 2011: I received an email from Customer support:
Your report of an unauthorized access to your Xbox LIVE account has been reviewed by our fraud investigations team. However, there is a delay in processing your request, so we're sending you a free, 30-day Xbox LIVE membership code that you can use to create a new, temporary account.
November 12, 2011: I placed another call to support to request an update as I had not heard anything since the email the previous month. This is when I discovered the support people are not helpful, as all the can tell you is that the case has been handed off to the investigation team.  Asking for an ETA, he would not give me anything.  Actually refusing to give me an ETA as he really didn't know.  At the end of the conversation he hinted that I should keep an eye on my secondary email in the next couple of weeks.

November 25, 2011:  I started a chat with the XBox Support team to complain about the lack of communication, and the fact that it has been way longer than  they originally quoted me.  In the end, they said there's nothing they could do, I'd have to phone support in order to find out anything.

December 3, 2011: I had time to call in again.  This time I gave the support person my refererence number, and she commented it was way past the current ETA they were giving new cases of 30 - 35 days, and then hung up on me.  I called back and got another person who actually seemed to care, and wanted to be able to help, even though she couldn't.  She actually told me that the account to completely locked to the support people when it's under investigation.  I asked if she could add a note on the account stating that I'd like an update as it's been a long time with no word.  She said she could, and would do so right away, and get her supervisor to do so as well.

December 9, 2011: I wrote the previous blog post, as another week had gone by and even requesting an update didn't get me anything.  After posting it I sent a link to @XboxSupport to see if they could help me.  Pete responded with a wow that sucks, you should try calling support.  I responded saying that I had, and they can't tell me anything.  I just wanted to know that I hadn't been forgotten as .  He took my gamertag, and said he'd see what he could find out.  He responded a while later saying that the account is still under investigation, and that I hadn't been forgotten.

December 17, 2011: I received another email from Customer support: 
We wanted to give you a quick update on the status of your unauthorized access case.  Due to the complexity of your case, we are engaging our engineering team to create a solution that will allow us to return your account to you. While this work continues, we’d like to offer you a free, 30-day Xbox LIVE membership code.
Which doesn't really tell me anything other than it's still not resolved.

Update January 10, 2012:  I have received the account recovery instructions, however, my account is still locked.  I was able to change the password and that is all so far.  I called support that night, and according to their system, my account is still under investigation, and thus still locked.  His only suggestion was to wait 24 hours from the email and try again.

Update January 11, 2012: I called XBox support again to get the account unblocked.  They told me it was, and thought it might be a Live problem, so they had me sign in to another Live site, where I got the same Temporary Block error.  They then told me to post a question on and that was it.  So still not returned.

Update January 12, 2012: I received my response from WindowsLiveHelp, and my account has been unlocked.  I am now able to log into the website, and will try recovering my profile to the XBox tonight.  Looking at the purchase history though, it does appear there's several PC purchases that were made at the same time as the Points purchases, so I will have to call about those tonight as well.

Well, got my hopes up too high, when trying to use the Gold Memebership codes I was given, I needed to enter an address, but it wouldn't let me change the country, it was stuck on United States.  So I called Support to check on that, and check on the Games that were purchased using my points, only to find out that my account had originally been transferred to Russia, and when they recovered it, they recovered it to the US, instead of Canada like it should have been.  So, they are reviewing the case, and have given me a 12 day ETA.  The customer service rep, did not lock my account, so that I may be able to play tonight, but said that the Investigation team may still lock it for that time.

Update February 6, 2012:  I finally got around to calling Microsoft again, and the guy couldn't understand what was going on, as on his end it appeared to be a Canadian account, but when I log into the website, it's still a US account.  He said that should be able to be fixed within 3 days.  So we'll see about that.  And for the missing points, he said that I was emailed codes to reimburse me, however, I never received them, and wouldn't be able to use them until the region is fixed for my account.

Beginning of March, 2012: I called again, and this time after looking through a number of things she finally said that my account was being investigated by the Unauthorized Access team again, and there's nothing they could do with it until the investigation was completed.

March 27, 2012: Late in the day I received an email confirming that I had successfully switched my Xbox Live account from the US to Canada.  I have logged into the website and confirmed this is the case.  Now to just call again and get my code for my missing points.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

XBox 360 Account Hacked - 10 Weeks Still Not Resolved

I know not many people read this blog (I don't post enough) but just have to get this out there, as this is no way to make a happy customer.

Approximately 10 weeks ago, I awoke to discover that my XBox 360 account had been used to purchase 3 of the largest points packages totaling almost $300.  Figuring that my account had been hacked, I immediately logged into the website with the intent of changing my password before calling Microsoft, however, upon logging in I discovered my account had been converted to Russian.  Not knowing Russian, I was unable to navigate the site to change my password, so I was forced to sign out, and call Microsoft without changing the password.  I reported my account as being compromised (which is MS's term) and the customer service guy was pleasant, and worked with me through the process.  The account was also apparently being transferred or something, although I'm not exactly sure what that means.  At the end of the report he mentioned that the investigation time-frame was currently 20 - 25 business days (4 - 5 weeks) which I thought was a little long, especially when he stated that I would receive my refund at the end of the investigation.

So I started waiting.

After approximately 2 weeks, I received an email on the alternate email address that had been supplied as part of the reporting procedure that stated: 
Your report of an unauthorized access to your Xbox LIVE account has been reviewed by our fraud investigations team. However, there is a delay in processing your request, so we're sending you a free, 30-day Xbox LIVE membership code that you can use to create a new, temporary account.
Well, as I don't play too much, I thought I'd just wait it out, as it was only going to be another 2 - 3 weeks.

After week 6 I called again to see what was going on as I hadn't heard anything and it was past the original estimate of 4 - 5 weeks, but I had given them some extra time as there was the email saying there was a delay.  Well, I discovered the customer support people can't tell me anything.  All he would say is that it's been handed off to the investigation team, but couldn't tell me anything else.  I asked for an ETA, even just a guess as I wanted to be able to play when Batman: Arkham City came out, but he refused to give me anything.  Just before ending the call, he commented that I should keep an eye on my secondary email address in the next couple weeks.

At the end of week 8 I started a chat on the MS XBox support site with one of the support people, and I basically vented about not having my account for so long.  The fact that I can't play any of my save games as they're attached to the compromised account, and that I can't even play the PC version of Batman as I need to register my CD Key with a Games For Windows Live (Xbox Live) account.  I could create another account, but then in the future I have to try to remember which account which game was registered to?  That seems really complicated, especially when I was told I would get my account back, and my $300 refunded.  In the end, I was told they can't do anything I'd have to call in.

At the end of week 9 I had time to call in again.  The first person I talked to, said that was way past when I should have had my account back, took my reference number, and then hung up on me.  So I tried again, and the second lady was quite nice.  She agreed that it wasn't right that it had been so long, even though the current estimate they were giving out for people was 6 weeks.  But I did find out that the account is read-only to the customer service people when it's under investigation, so she really couldn't do anything.  I asked if there was a way to attach a note to the account to ask for an update as it's been 6 - 7 weeks since I last had any communication from the investigation team.  She said she would add one, and get her supervisor to add one as well.  And that was the end of that call.

Now I've given them several business days to respond, and still nothing.  So we're approaching the end of week 10, and still no account, still no refund, and still no communication, other than the standard marketing emails which are all in Russian.

At one point I was doing some searching around, looking into whether XBox has two-factor authentication (which they don't) and stumbled across a guild forum where several people were talking about their accounts having been hacked around the same time-frame as mine.  Most of them said they got their refund the day they reported it, and most of them had their accounts returned in 2-4 weeks.

So now after 10 weeks, with the lack of communication I'm extremely frustrated.  I want my account back, I want my $300 back, and I want my 3 months of Gold service back.

This is not the way to keep a customer happy.

Update Dec. 09, 2011: According to XBoxSupport on Twitter, it still under investigation, and I haven't been forgotten.  Still, 10 weeks of no XBox gaming does not a happy gamer make.

Update Jan. 06, 2012: I did receive another email on the 17th of December from XBox Support that stated:  We wanted to give you a quick update on the status of your unauthorized access case.  Due to the complexity of your case, we are engaging our engineering team to create a solution that will allow us to return your account to you. While this work continues, we’d like to offer you a free, 30-day Xbox LIVE membership code.

Which is now the second 30 day code they've offered, and yet still no offer to transfer data back to the old account or anything, hence still effectively useless to me.

Then today I saw another post that had been linked to by Kotaku about another person that had a hacked account as well.  Due to the publicity it appears their story had a quick ending.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Testing Out Android Version

Wow, it's been almost a year since the last post.  Still nothing to say, but I am testing out the android app for posting.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Switch To SageTV

For the past 6 years, I've been using BeyondTV as my dvr/pvr software, recording lots of tv shows. This spring I made the switch to SageTV for a number of reasons:

SnapStream has pretty much quit working on the consumer version of BeyondTV, and switched to an enterprise level version (targeting large companies), meaning there's no innovation on the horizon for the consumer level product. That in and of itself would not have been enough to make me switch, as I really do like BeyondTV, but it was enough to get me to start looking at the alternatives, as I figured the writing was on the wall.

Enter SageTV, which was always the main competition for BeyondTV at least in my mind (Media Center didn't count, and most of the others had no commercial backing), which after doing some research, I discovered that SageTV supports other media, such as music, and photos, as well as many more video formats (mkv, dvd, etc.). This started to get me interested, and then I discovered the HD200 SageTV HD Theatre, which is a little set-top box that will connect to the SageTV server, and will play pretty much anything you can throw at it. This was the main selling point, considering that we're building a new house, and running cat6 / ethernet cable to every room was already in my plan, which is much easier than running vga cables to the main tv locations, and then trying to control computers that will be sitting in the basement.

Made the switch, having only a couple issues.  The first being I had trouble importing the metadata from BeyondTV into SageTV, so I had to use the Batch Metadata Tools (BMT) plugin to set all the files metadata, which worked beautifully, even if it was time consuming.  The second issue was configuring my tuners, as I ran into a bug with the Hauppauge drivers when using 4GB ram.  After that, everything has been smooth. 

So after about 6 weeks of use, I'm really liking the ease of use with the HD200, I will admit that I miss the BeyondTV interface, as I used it for so many years, that I know where to find things much more easily, but there's nothing wrong with the SageMC plugin interface that I am using with Sage.

Now with SageTV 7 in beta, it's looking really good, and I'm having a hard time not upgrading to the beta, even though I don't really want to be running beta software.  More information about the beta including screenshots can be found at the GeekTonic blog.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

New House Incoming

I think most of my family is aware that my wife and I are building a new house, but thought that some people might be interested, and not know yet, so here's your notice. :)

The new place will be South and a little West of where we are now, but in a similar area. We will have a real guest room, unlike the current house which has a room that can be used as a guest room. Will have a triple car garage, so that we can actually fit two vehicles in there. Looks to be about 2600 square feet, with a 500 square foot bonus room above the garage, and an unfinished basement.

We have obtained the building permits, and are now just waiting for them to become active, and the builder to be ready to start. The plan is to start about the middle of May, with a completion of late October / early November. Needless to say, we're starting to get excited as things are getting closer to actually starting. :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Mercenary Contract Generator (MCG) Update

Well, as you can see from the length of time between posts, I've obviously failed on the one resolution. Just after posting my list of resolutions, I put in about 4 or 5 hours work of work on Mercenary Contract Generator (MCG) which got the code into a stable point. I was switching to a new plugin framework, as well as switching to using Maven as a build tool. I now have all my work compiling using maven, and some code switched over to the new plugin framework. The plugin switch causes me to have to rethink how I'm planning on building it, and so I left it to ponder... then something called Star Trek Online came out, and I've been spending my free time playing that. Guess I need to get my act together and get the rest of the code ported over to the new framework. Then I can at least start moving ahead again.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

I read somewhere that it is best if you write out any resolutions you may have, as well as post them somewhere where you will see them frequently so that you remember them, as well put them somewhere public so that others will be able to hold you to them as well. So here I am posting some with the hopes that I can stick to them better.

  1. Lose 46 lbs by the end of the year. Targeting the 200 lb mark which I haven't been in many, many years.
  2. 15 minutes a day of activity / exercise. Such as walking, jogging on the spot, or some other form of exercise. Such as my karate class once a week.
  3. Aim for at least one hour of work each week on Mercenary Contract Generator program for Battletech.
  4. Post more on my blog. Try to post once a month with updates on MCG. As well as posting other topics that I would like to discuss.
  5. Reading a chapter a day of the bible.