back to article Microsoft: Oh, go on, Xbox Live user. Show us your spammer

The hugely annoying nuisance that has plagued email for decades has found its way into gaming, most recently spreading to affect their mobile and instant messaging experiences. Spammers are affecting online gaming, with Xbox users in particular reporting an increase in spam reaching them from multiple gamertags. In response …

  1. Bullseyed

    >“Security options for console owners are fairly comprehensive, and also include choices specific to both

    > the 360 and Xbox One platforms. Anybody worried about the spam should set their ‘Communicate with

    > Voice & Text’ option to ‘friends’ or block entirely until Microsoft apply an update in March designed to

    > make flagging spam easier,” Boyd explained.

    This is laughable. One, the security options are terrible. Two, changing messages to friends only is akin to saying if you don't like spam email, stop using email.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That's a...

      rubbish example.

      If I change my messages to friends only it means that if someone wants to message me they have to fire a friend request at me.

      In years of gaming on Xbox live I've only ever had abusive or spam messages from non-friends, especially when I've just kicked someone's ass and the resulting message is actually pretty damn horrible. So actually, setting to friends only is a great solution and does the job.

      Try harder.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: That's a...

        No, friends only isn't a "great solution". How exactly did you come by some of those friends with this filter set? If you feel you have enough "friends", then sure. However, what if it is your first day behind an Xbone?

        This doesn't look attractive at all for the console, especially when you consider how much spam Microsoft has already ignored through the years with Internet Explorer (e.g. It took competition from Mozilla for them to even think about the word "security"). Factor in that they are already trailing behind PS3, this won't help (obviously :-/). However, at least Microsoft was ~active~ enough to publicly ignore the problem until they got through the holiday shopping season.

        Oh, and as a PREVIOUS xbox 360 owner, I can tell you right now the security is dismal, laughable bad. You could at one point in time rewrite a file that was intended for "identity" and the "gamertag" in a certain way that you could jack anyone's account that you were in a game lobby with. BTW, this did _NOT_ require a modified console at a hardware level, only access to the FATX filesystem. Of course did they really care, because last I saw online "leaderboards" people were still ranked at the top with a fictitious score of somewhere around 2^99 (Maxed out double float values is what you saw).

  2. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Microsoft and Spam...

    One would have thought that by now they would have learned a thing or two... or did Hotmail not leave an impact? If they approach spam reports with the same degree they die with Hotmail, their game platform is dead (or should be).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Microsoft and Spam...

      This is a core fundamental, at least I believe as well. Especially if you're not 16 and remember the *POP-UP* days when *POP-UP* you could barely even fill out *POP-UP* a form online. Just goes to show that for some, they can change their clothes, but they'll still be *POP-UP* dirty... *POP-UP*

      (On a side note, and I know this isn't right, but sometimes I miss the BAM! days)

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Re: Microsoft and Spam...

        I'm still using the same Hotmail address I set up in 1996, before Microsoft bought them and I haven't had any spam in years. Between around 1999 and 2006 it was pretty much unusable, but then they got their act together on the spam front.

        In fact, for years, I just used the account for registering online services, so that my private accounts were relatively spam free.

        In recent years I have been using it as my main account again. I rarely use my iCloud, GMail or Yahoo! accounts - in fact the only thing I use GMail for is registering for Google services and I only get spam in that account - spam direct from Google.

  3. Roger B


    From what I have read, it seems to affect a lot of people playing Fifa and making use of the UT or Ultimate Team, with the temptation of free or reduced price coins. I'm still using my 360 at the moment and never get spam, so, something has changed in the Xbox One messaging system? on the 360, you can only message friends or people you have recently played either from your console or via the website, I don't think you can just type in random names onto the Xbox to pull up addresses, so the spam sender and receiver must of "met" online somewhere, I think.

  4. jnemesh

    Simple solution...

    Don't buy or use an inferior console. I have had ZERO spam messages on my Playstation. Not a single one. This despite the fact that there are FAR more PS4s out there than Xbox consoles.

    1. h3

      Re: Simple solution...

      Spam is a lesser evil than loosing all that personal information.

    2. Daniel B.

      Re: Simple solution...

      Don't buy or use an inferior console. I have had ZERO spam messages on my Playstation. Not a single one.

      This is also true for PS3. I simply haven't seen any spam in the 7 years I've owned a PS3. It's probably because PSN accounts are created from the PS3/PS4 devices, so that probably cuts back on spammers' ability to create fake accounts.

  5. Monti

    "But for now friends/my profile/privacy/custom and check friends only"

    If you have to tell your user base to disable features of the console that you designed and enabled by default then that shows that you have drunk the "EVERYTHING MUST BE SOCIAL! OMG!" Kool-Aid in this case.

    Some people do not WANT to get mail from the entire planet, spam or not.

    1. Monti

      Re: "But for now friends/my profile/privacy/custom and check friends only"

      “In a closed system such as a gaming platform, where a single vendor controls access and message delivery for all users, spam control should be relatively easy.”

      ^^^ THIS

      1. Spasticus Autisticus

        Re: "But for now friends/my profile/privacy/custom and check friends only"

        I don't understand why someone would down vote this ^^^ - unless it was a bot, a shill or a moron. El Reg and it commentards have taken a downward slide recently, seemingly from around the time we suffered (and are still suffering) the useless and unnecessary relooking.

        1. Daniel B.

          Re: "But for now friends/my profile/privacy/custom and check friends only"

          It's probably because we're smack in the middle of the weekend, and the usual commentards are probably somewhere else. The MS shilltards are however always here, in full force.

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