No Hacks to Report at Xbox, But Microsoft Isn’t Letting Its Guard Down

Sony’s been hacked, Nintendo’s been hacked. Is Xbox next?

That’s what I asked Marc Whitten, the corporate VP of Xbox Live at E3 today, following recent attacks on his two closest competitors.

Only days after Sony turned its PlayStation Network back on after an attack forced it offline for three weeks, Nintendo reported that its U.S Web site had been hacked but that no company or customer information was compromised.

Whitten feels bad for Sony.

“It’s not great for the industry. It’s a rough and tumble world out there. We take it really seriously. We take privacy and security and cheating and hacking all very seriously. It’s been a high priority for us,” he said.

But when asked point blank whether Xbox had been subjected to any attacks, Whitten fudged his answer a little bit.

He was clear in saying that there was nothing unusual to report to customers.

“We continue to take it really seriously,” he said, but added that my question was “weird.”

A spokesperson intervened to clarify — or at least try to. He said in order “to protect the integrity of the system, we don’t share information because we want to keep it secure.”

In the meantime, if there are any remaining concerns, vigilance is the answer.

“It’s always been a top priority for us,” Whitten said. “Every time we see things — not just because it’s Sony in the videogame space — we try to do post-mortem. That’s part of the learning cycle.”

He said it also serves as a reminder to consumers to “practice safe hygiene on the Internet,” by not using the same username and password for all of your accounts. “One of the things it reminds us of, is that there’s nothing inherently special about Sony.”

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik