Microsoft Works With Hacker To Better Defend From Attacks [Updated]

May 30, 2011 by  

Hacker Gets Hired By Microsoft

In case you haven’t been paying attention, things haven’t been going very well for Sony. First, PSN was hacked. SOE eventually followed suit, rendering all of their MMOs unplayable.  Then, after a month it came back on with the PlayStation Store still having problems. After this, Sony websites were hacked and so on, and so on. It’s gotten to the point where for some gamers, faith in Sony has been completely shot. On the other side of the spectrum, Microsoft recently encountered their own problems with a hacker, but handled it in a very different way than Sony.

A 14 year-old boy in Dublin, Ireland tried to hack Microsoft just over a week ago. His specific target was the online server for Modern Warfare 2, though what his intentions were remain a mystery. Microsoft quickly took action to prevent any sensitive information belonging to the players from being leaked.

During a keynote speech at the Bank of Ireland Business Week, Microsoft’s Ireland General Manager Paul Rellis revealed the events that took place to the audience present. He also revealed that Microsoft was now working with the young hacker in question to further develop his talent, so he could be used for “more legitimate purposes.”

This is certainly an interesting method to use for dealing with hackers and it’s a situation much better handled than the Sony-Geohotz mess. It’s a nice contrast to what Sony did, effectively declaring war on any and all hackers last month, a response that’s proven… less than effective.

Some players themselves have been losing faith in Sony’s effectiveness as well. In a recent survey conducted by Gamespot, 2,285 PS3 owners were questioned about the PSN outage. Though most said that they would stay faithful to Sony and continue to use PSN as normal, 28 percent of them said that they wouldn’t trust them with any personal information anymore, and 14 percent said they had totally lost faith in them. When further asked if they would switch from PS3 to Xbox 360, 9 percent said that they had already made the switch, with another 5 percent saying that it was “very likely” they would do so.

Do you think Microsoft handled their situation better than Sony handled theirs? What can Sony do to win back those that have lost faith in them?

Leave any thoughts you may have in the comments below.

[Update: We recently learned via Kotaku that the above story of Microsoft working with the 14-year old hacker is, in fact, false. Microsoft explained that Mr. Rellis's comments were taken out of context, and that they were not, in fact, mentoring the hacker.]

Source: Herald.ie, Gamespot UK, Kotaku

33 Comments

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  1. Its definitly a better way to handle it. I have not played any of my SOE games since the hack, and have lost complete faith in Sony’s ability to protect my information.

    Microsoft went about it the right way, his skills would be more suited as an ethical hacker developing more intricate security for large scale companies who are always a primary target for hackers.

    at least they have a brain

  2. Yes accually

  3. It’s so like microsoft to suck the proverbial dick of hackers. No, I don’t think what they did was better, but a lot worse.

    • They actually handled it quite well, slot better than Sony. They aren’t kissing butt or doing what you said but in order to beat the enemy you have to know the enemy and what they are capable of. Microsoft doesn’t want to go through what Sony is going through so what better way to prevent hacking than to actually work with one. It’s better that than to declare a war with them.

    • You made your system actually got hacked?

      • Mad*

    • You are clearly just a hater of great things. You say what microsoft did was worse than how sony handled their situation, but you have no argument other than “microsoft sucks dick.” The kid is young and talented, and clearly needs direction. Microsoft is giving him that direction and I actually think that it’s a great thing.

    • Well the government buys out hackers why can’t Microsoft?

  4. Personally I think Microsoft did the best thing the could possibly do! To work with a hacker, even though he is a bit young, to better enhance the security. I love the idea! While on the other hand Sony is still getting hacked into what seems like every month! Seriously, get it through you heads Sony. If what you’re doing isn’t working, dont keep doing the same thing!

  5. It was obviously Microsoft that initiated the attacks on PS3. If they’re this willing to work with hackers, imagine what they’d do to criplle playstation and get more console and online sales while PS is down.

    • you do realize M$ just got into the gaming industry “just because”. It already makes more then what sony could dream of. I believe it would be allot longer a down time if M$ really set there sights on sony.

    • Lol at this type of accusations. If you don’t have a proof, then it’s not “obvious” and stop spreading it around like it’s a fact.

      And besides, it’s not the first time MS has worked with hackers. MS makes software, it shouldn’t surprise anyone when they recruit people good enough to break into their system.

  6. This shouldn’t really be an open discussion because of all the crap we will get out of PlayStation Fanboys. But Microsoft did handle the situation pretty good.

  7. Well, it’s a very different situation. Ps3 was a attacked by a GROUP of professional hackers, and Microsoft was hacked by an skilled, 14 years old, hacker. It was a very good thing to do, at some point. But just because they have a hacker by their side, it doesn’t mean they’re untouchable.

    And of course, because of the ps3 attack, Microsoft increased their security.

    I’m a playstation user, and I’m disappointed at SCEA because of their lack of security.

    • Well said!

    • You seem to have completely forgotten about Geohotz. If I remembered correctly, Sony handled Geohotz harshly, which was what lit the fuse.

  8. I applaud Microsoft’s method of handling it’s hacking problems. It uses the same strategies of the US government when it comes to hacking, which have so far been very beneficial. On the other hand, I almost pity Sony for this debacle they have created. They effectively declared war on hacking, which actually encourages, rather than deters, the worst kind of hacking. They have tantamount to offered a challenge to the boldest and most skilled hackers to hack Sony. They should take a hint and at least hire some professional hackers to protect them, so that they may point out the flaws in their security.

  9. To hell with that, i’d personally confront these hackers n beat them to death. I think they’re cowards. O, and microsoft is definitly in direct relation to the sony hacks.

    • you made me LOL.

  10. Everybody hack microsoft!!! They will be giving away free education and jobs to anyone that can hack them! The better and more sever the hack the higher position at microsoft!

  11. LOL @mike

  12. Kotakau claims Microsoft contacted them to inform them the story was fake.
    http://kotaku.com/5805742/microsoft-is-helping-an-xbox-live-hacker-develop-his-talent

    Who knows eh?

    • Hi Grant,

      We saw that too and updated. Good on Microsoft for being up front about it even though it was kinda working in their favor.

  13. People wonder why the hackers r so good, cause the likes of these cunts Microsoft r training them, Wouldnt Surprise me if Microsoft wer behind the PSN Hack!

    • Better start burning those witches too while you’re hunting.

  14. So instead of punishing criminals we should reward them?

    Fail logic is so fail it’s beyond belief. It’s a bad idea to reward bad behavior with employment. That’s why hackers are so out of control, because they don’t associate what they do with real world penalties, and in fact they often get real world rewards. That’s not how you deter criminal behavior.

    • The problem is anonymity. You can’t find and punish them, so you have to make them not want to hack. If you get rewarded for being a hacker but not ruining anything, you won’t want to ruin anything.

  15. My comp just got hacked

  16. Yeah, I think my PC just got hacked too! I wish I could find out who it was that did it, I could offer them a job, I’m pretty sure I could scrape together enough money to pay them for something, hmmm? my room is really messy.

  17. doesn’t surprise me b/c the american government usually recruits former hackers to work with them to further secure their government stuff, would only make sense if big corporations did so as well.

    and to all the retards crying about this being a stupid move, piss off b/c this is the smartest way of securing your network – you have someone attempt to hack you so your networker’s know what they’re doing wrong. its certainly more beneficial then throwing out a free service and failing to properly secure peoples info ;)

  18. @jwalka u get wat u pay for, right?

  19. well im not surprised tho microsoft has been doing this from years now not just hackers from US but they recruit also notable hackers from different countries not to mention the incentives those hackers got from microsoft ^^

  20. Why work with a 14 year old when they already employ 100′s if not thousands of security experts, I say they should have just sent the kid a Cease and Desist letter, that would have stopped him.

    Im not saying Sony handled the hack on their systems any better, however if you know the person doing it, slap them with a cease and desist letter, and if any information has been compromised, slap them with a subpoena, im sure that would stop any 14 year old hacker in their tracks.

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