Xbox Live Users Are Being Hacked for Virtual FIFA Gear (Updated)

Xbox Live users are under attack on two levels: hackers are targeting them at an alarming rate and using their MS points on FIFA '11 and '12 in-game gear; and Microsoft is then shutting down their accounts to investigate for up to 25 days.

A strange, and seeming profitless pattern has cropped up among Xbox Live users. Their accounts are compromised, and the hackers install or buy Fifa '11 or '12, and then they drain the remaining MS point balance into in-game items. Microsoft has been slow to respond, and several users who've had this happen to them have reported being locked out of their accounts for massive amounts of time (21 business days!) and generally being frozen out of the investigation process.

The FIFA schtick is probably a running troll, since it's basically impossible to transfer MS points to another Live account, but Microsoft basically bricking your account for a month just because you got hacked seems like unnecessary salt on an an obviously goofy wound. That is, unless this is just a particularly black hat campaign from the PR team at PSN. [WhattheGeek/Reddit via Ars Technica]

Update: Microsoft says that they don't have any evidence that Xbox Live as a whole has been compromised, but they're working to help the users who've contacted them. Here's their official statement:

We do not have any evidence the Xbox LIVE service has been compromised. We take the security of our service seriously and work on an ongoing basis to improve it against evolving threats. However, a limited number of members have contacted us regarding unauthorized access to their accounts by outside individuals. We are working with our impacted members directly to resolve any unauthorized changes to their accounts. As always, we highly recommend our members follow the Xbox LIVE Account Security guidance provided at www.xbox.com/security to protect your account.