Xbox 360 vulnerability? No, just weak passwords!

If your Xbox Live account has been hacked chances are it’s because you used a weak password. According to this post xbox.com reveals if a hacker has found a legitimate email address by printing the following error:

The email address is or password is incorrect. Please try again.

After 8 attempts with a wrong password a CAPTCHA is shown but that can be easily circumvented.

Now, showing that error message makes the job of hacking accounts easier but if it wasn’t there you can be sure that login page would be (and is being) hit by dumb bots that stuff the login page with random emails and passwords. My blog gets hit by so many bots exploiting vulnerabilities for software that doesn’t even run on here that nothing surprises me any more about the intelligence of script kiddies.

It would be super if Microsoft used something like Steam Guard or at the very least put time limits on successive password checks but in the meantime what can you do?

  • Use Lass Pass or another password service and pick a strong password. Use a pass phrase, “talking heads is a great band”, “i wish i had super powers”, “use your own imagination”. They’re all a lot better than “abcdefg1” and a lot easier to remember! Connect a keyboard to your Xbox to type a long phrase in or you’ll be discouraged.
  • Limit the damage. Don’t add your credit card to Xbox Live. Sometimes you can buy an Xbox Live Gold subscription at half the price Micrsoft charges. Buy points cards if you want to buy stuff. Until recently it was hard to stop XBL auto renewing if you used a credit card.
  • Go live in a hole in the hills and play marbles with the mice.

My XBL Gold subscription ran out a few days ago so I’m back to being a silver member. Not too fussed as almost everyone I play online with has a PS3 or PC too. I’m left wondering why I need an Xbox 360 any more! I will make doubly sure that I have a strong password on the account.

Thanks Gavin for linking to that article, even if we do disagree about what a security hole is. 🙂

Kinect Demo

Xbox Kinect was shown off earlier today at a local shopping center. Quite a bit of interest, I was impressed but not impressed enough to buy it!

10 of the best multiplayer experiences

I just spotted a two page feature in GamesTM listing their top 10 multiplayer games:

  1. Mario Kart
  2. Bomberman
  3. Street Fighter
  4. Halo
  5. Micro Machines
  6. Battlefield
  7. Worms
  8. Pac-man Vs
  9. Team Fortress 2
  10. Starcraft

What? No Modern Warfare 2? Surely they jest!! OMG WTF!

Anyway, the list above reminded me I had the Orange Box for the Xbox, and included on that compilation is Team Fortress 2. Ihaveneverplayedit! Yes, I have never played it! I also only played Portal on my Macbook with frustrating teeth grinding slow results.

Will I play TF2? I’d like to but probably not unless someone volunteers to join me in a game.

Edit: I found this video of Team Fortress 2, uploaded earlier today so looks like an active community still!

PS3 Motion Controller

I really don’t get Natal, the Xbox camera system that allows you to interact with the system. I mean, you need a trigger don’t you? I just came across this video of the PS3 motion controller from E3 last year. Impressive stuff, looks like a more accurate version of the Wii controller.

First game of 2010?

In years gone by I used to worry about the first game I’d play in the new year. When I say “years gone by”, I really mean it. This was around the time when Ikari Warriors and Armalyte were only a few years old, and I was a teenager pounding out ASM code on a C64 keyboard with an Action Replay.

Time passed and the PC rose to become the dominant gaming platform and with it my interest in games waned. Sporadic bouts of play included almost all the ID games and the original Half Life but as I had to reboot into Windows it was never going to last. In recent times I became the owner of my first two games consoles. First a Nintendo Wii (gathering dust in the living room) and an Xbox 360 this year that awoke in me the dormant games playing interest that had been killed off a dozen years ago.

So, this year I’m once again pondering what game will become that first one. Will it be the obvious choice of Modern Warfare 2? Or perhaps a bit of COD 4? Maybe even Batman: Arkham Asylum?

No, I think the first game of the teenies (or whatever we’ll call ’em) will be Trials HD. A kick ass game I already wrote about and couldn’t stop playing even after hitting the restart button a few dozen times!

What about you?

Steal Their Class!

Xbox Live is free for Silver users of the Xbox 360 for the next 5 days in Europe. I just tried Modern Warfare 2 and had my ass handed to me. Didn’t take long for me to see the infamous deathstreak “Steal Their Class!” notice. I was the lowest level player there. Highest was about 67, next lowest was 26. Sigh. Not tempted to buy a Gold membership any more. Thanks Microsoft 🙂

steal-their-class

I didn’t disconnect on purpose. WIFI died right after I died for the 5th or 6th time. (If you were on #wordpress you just saw me disconnect, honest!) I swear those guys were probably looking out for the dumb newbie. I’m sure my curiosity will be piqued again in the next few days.

The coop in MW2 is excellent though. I might be willing to part with some cash if some friends were online regularly to play that!

Happy Modern Warfare 2 Day

modern-warfare-2

November 10th is here and Modern Warfare 2 is finally out! Shops here in Ireland opened at midnight last night and I briefly thought about hopping down to the Gamestop in Blackpool. I didn’t, and I won’t buy it until I have my BarCamp Cork talk is done. That should ensure I have it written by tonight!

Anyway, the level of anticipation for this game reached astronomical levels. Ask anyone with a game console or PC games player and they’ll know about this game. I’m writing this to remind myself of the fact when the next big thing comes along! In five year’s time we’ll be laughing at how we were all swept up in the hype of the game.

So, did you queue last night at midnight to buy the game? Have you already finished it? I’m pretty sure it’ll take me a lot longer to finish than ShadowHearth reported in that thread above.

So its 6:24 and i beated game on veteran setting.

Loved it, in some places i whanted to cry… becouse of just being pwned like a little girl, and on athers places becouse of story…

Just loved it, going to try multiplayer now, untill mine misses wakes up and sees me still on pc… I will get killed.

I think "Halo 3: ODST" is a pile of pooh

I was looking forward to Halo ODST. I even pre-ordered it from Amazon. Now I’ve played it and I’m very disappointed.

It’s standard Halo 3 fare. Some graphics are slightly improved and there are minor changes, but, oh dear it is boring. I’ve played it for a few hours now and the monotonous streets of New Mombasa are so samey-samey that nowhere really stands out. Making my way through dark corridors with little to see and even less happening is even worse.

You stumble upon enemy groups on the streets and blast away at them from a distance until your weapon runs out of ammo. It’s always the same groups of the same characters too. Oh look! Them fellas with the shields, and the big guys, again! Didn’t I kill them back there a bit?

Or maybe it’s the weapons. The original Halo 3 was all bright and colourful and cartoony and I liked it. It had some great set pieces. The weapons suited it. The energy weapons you pick up from dead enemy corpses are much the same as in the previous game but here they look totally out of place, even childish or something. The pistol is great though. Zoom in, bang, headshot! Nice.

Maybe I’m expecting too much of of the venerable Halo 3 engine? I’m honestly not sure if I can bring myself to load the ODST disc to play the game again. By all means, rent it out and give it a go, or buy the original Halo 3. It’s going cheap now and it’s a great game!

Oh, in case you’re wondering, I only played the single player game. I don’t have any interest in multiplayer, although Firefight was a nice distraction for 5 minutes. (and now the fanboys will crucify me.)

Huge Xbox 360 price hike on the way

Well, this is shocking. I’m glad I bought my Xbox 360 a while back before this price hike went into effect.

For those who don’t know, visit the Xbox 360 Elite page for Ireland. See that price? Looks like we get gouged yet again with sky high prices in rip off Ireland. *sigh*

I bet you thought the minor price hike in the UK was bad. At least Microsoft could blame a weak currency but we’re in the Eurozone for crying out loud!

xbox price hike

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PS. I can recommend without reservation the new Batman game. I’m a few hours into it now and it’s enthralling. It has to be the best superhero game ever. The scene in the morgue with the Scarecrow had me freaked out and just a little scared.
D’you remember the Batman stories where he fought Scarecrow? It’s one thing to read it and watch Batman’s reactions to the fears planted by the poisoned gases, but quite another to be right-in-there-feeling-the-fear. Can’t wait to play it again!