Microsoft casts doubt over claims that credit card details and other sensitive information can be accessed from refurbished Xbox 360 consoles.
Researchers at Drexel University in Philadelphia claimed that they were able to harvest credit card details and other private information belonging to the previous owner from a refurbished Xbox 360 purchased from a Microsoft-authorized reseller.
Speaking to gaming site Kotaku, Drexel University researcher Ashley Podhradsky said, "Microsoft does a great job of protecting their proprietary information. But they don't do a great job of protecting the user's data."
Information on how the data was accessed is limited, but the researchers claimed that they used a basic modding tool to gain access to the file system on the console, from which they were able to get access to the sensitive information.
Microsoft has issued a statement saying that is it investigating the claims, but says that such data leakage is unlikely given that credit card information is not stored on the console.
"We are conducting a thorough investigation into the researchers' claims. We have requested information that will allow us to investigate the console in question and have still not received the information needed to replicate the researchers' claims.
Xbox is not designed to store credit card data locally on the console, and as such seems unlikely credit card data was recovered by the method described. Additionally, when Microsoft refurbishes used consoles we have processes in place to wipe the local hard drives of any other user data. We can assure Xbox owners we take the privacy and security of their personal data very seriously."
Whatever the outcome of this investigation, it does help to highlight the fact that data might still be present on electronic devices, and that once these devices are no longer under our control, it may be possible for others to access this data.
If you're worried about residual data on your Xbox console, detach the drive, connect it to a PC and securely wipe it with a program like Darik's Boot & Nuke.
It's the only way to be sure.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons.
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