Stolen XBox tracked down by police

Discussion in 'privacy general' started by HandsOff, Dec 22, 2012.

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  1. HandsOff

    HandsOff Registered Member

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    Actually, I think it's pretty cool that the kid got his XBox back, but it made me wonder about the missing details of the story. I don't have an XBox, and I don't play game console games on line, so I am missing how it is possible to "see your game console already online"

    Here is what the article in the NY Times said:

    Police, who were already investigating Jeremiah Gilliam, 22, for 13 robberies, caught him with his ill-gotten goods when he decided to play with one of his stolen game consoles. The former owner, playing at a friend's house, saw his stolen XBox log online and told his parents, who called police. Police used the stolen item's IP address and located Gilliam in his grandmother's apartment.

    Here is what I am wondering: Is the machine itself identifiable by hardware ID numbers, or it that each user creates a profile which is stored on the console, and when the crook went online, he could have deleted the owner's profile and created a new one and been home free?

    In the first case, it seems like a game console user has a really good deterrent against theft...at the cost of his own location being traceable at any given time by anyone who knows someone's online game ID.

    Thanks for any clarification!

    -HandsOff!
     
  2. Taliscicero

    Taliscicero Registered Member

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    Xbox Live, is subscription based. You need one to play online, and have an online account. Thief was too poor or lazy to create a new account and used his victims one which was still credited. His username "Appears Online" popped up at the friends house, and all it takes from there is a request from Microsoft that the machine is stolen, and what IP is connecting to the Live Network. Microsoft give to police, Police call ISP, ISP divulges details and criminals address is obtained.
     
  3. HandsOff

    HandsOff Registered Member

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    Funny! This guy was a real genius!

    Thanks for your response!

    A very long time ago I read that Intel had announced plans to make each of their computer processors uniquely identifiable. There was an immediate condemnation from the community at large due to privacy concerns.

    When you consider all the electronics we have nowadays, it does make me wonder. A gaming enthusiast could probably be stalked fairly easily by tracing their XBox.

    Of course, when you are creating profiles and logging on to them, you are making yourself public. I am just hoping that I can know when I am public and when I am out there for the world to see.

    -HandsOff
     
  4. BoerenkoolMetWorst

    BoerenkoolMetWorst Registered Member

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    I do think that Xbox's have some unique hardware identifier number, however it is not accessible by the public, but MS can ban your online profile for various reasons, in which case you lose the money you already might have paid for it, but you can create a new one, but they can also ban your Xbox itself in which case you would have to buy a new machine. When creating an online account, the privacy policy basically states they can collect tons of information, from your account and online/gaming activity and your hardware and store it on their servers.
     
  5. HandsOff

    HandsOff Registered Member

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    I bet you are right about the hardware ID. It almost seems funny about Microsoft being able to deactivate a machine. It seems almost as though the machine is being punished for the offenses of the operator!

    When it comes to law enforcement and privacy it is always tempting to believe authorities being able to locate someone by tracking their devises is a necessary evil that must be tolerated in order to protect us.

    In this XBox scenario everything worked out well, but let's say for the sake of the argument, that someone in the chain, be it the police, the IP, or Microsoft did not feel like wasting their time by providing help. You can see that the security benefit only exists with the cooperation of people that very likely never had returning your XBox as their prime motivator.

    I'm not trying to lecture, or get all paranoid. What made the story entertaining was that the bad guy is so stupid that he basically hangs himself. The bad news is that, and I realize I didn't mention it before, the crook was reportedly "under investigation for 13 burglaries" and was caught with stolen electronics from over 200 different thefts, and yet for all we know he'd still be sitting their at his grandmother's playing video games if not for this incident! I guess the system worked this time around!
     
  6. Noob

    Noob Registered Member

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    I have 1 word for this guy: STUPID! :rolleyes: :D
     
  7. happyyarou666

    happyyarou666 Registered Member

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    shouldve used a vpn , noob, lols
     
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