Print 35 comment(s) - last by quiksilvr.. on Mar 16 at 3:27 PM

Hackers developed an algorithm that allowed them to use old MS Points codes to make new ones

A group of hackers have scammed Microsoft out of $1.2 million after finding a way to generate new Microsoft Points out of old point codes. 

Microsoft Points is the currency for online stores such as the Games for Windows - Live Marketplace, Zune, Windows Live Gallery and the Xbox Live Marketplace. There are plenty of sites that provide free Microsoft Points, but it's rare to find one that is authentic. 

But on March 7, a team of hackers did some damage to Microsoft's pocket when they developed an algorithm that allowed them to use old MS Points codes to make new ones. They then created a website that allowed anyone to do the same just by refreshing the page. 

Each time a user refreshed the page, a new 160 point code would be available. Eventually, a heavy amount of traffic to the site yielded problems, which caused a 404 error message. 

Microsoft was able to pull the plug on the site, but still ended up losing $1.2 million in MS Points. No announcements have been made in regards to what Microsoft plans to do about this. 

The Escapist magazine posed the question as to whether Microsoft has a way of distinguishing which points are legitimate and which are counterfeit, so Microsoft could ban those who try to use the hack versions, but it is unknown whether the consumer electronics and software giant has these capabilities. 

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Stupid points system...
By Brandon Hill on 3/10/2011 12:50:29 PM , Rating: 5
I'm not saying that MS should have gotten hit like this, but I despise these "points" systems. Just give everything a dollar value and use a CC for purchases.

A Microsoft-sanctioned, platform-wide payment system like iTunes would work great for all of Microsoft's online properties.

RE: Stupid points system...
By TheChaosMachine on 3/10/2011 1:28:55 PM , Rating: 3
Points systems are annoying, but work very well at masking the true cost of things. A song on Rock Band at 160 points doesn't really have any intrinsic value, and most of us don't keep the math in our heads on how much that equates to in actual dollars. If every song (or map pack, or upgraded virtual paint job or whatnot) had a $2 cost next to it instead of the 160 points, most of us would think more about clicking that confirm button.

This is also the same reason that arcades are moving to point systems using magnetic strip cards instead of coins/bills. If you don't really know how much you're spending, you're more likely to spend more.

As much as I hate the point systems myself, you can't argue with their effectiveness :(

RE: Stupid points system...
By quiksilvr on 3/10/2011 2:45:22 PM , Rating: 5
How is masking the true cost of something good? Don't tell the sheep how much it costs, just stick some points, they'll think their GamerScore is their currency! BRILLIANT!


I hate that every time I see a random number, I have to divide by 80 in my head and make a mental note. It's pointless, stupid, frustrates the consumer and causes a lot of mistake purchases.

Buyer: Oh it was only 400 points, no biggie.
Friend: ...You spent $5 on a wallpaper?
Buyer: ...#&*$!

RE: Stupid points system...
By jeepga on 3/11/2011 9:31:32 AM , Rating: 2
He didn't say it was good or infer it was good to consumers. It's good for those marketing the product or service though.

RE: Stupid points system...
By Luticus on 3/16/2011 1:14:01 PM , Rating: 2
This is stupid, it's not about masking costs. Point systems unify the global market because instead of saying something costs xdollers, xyen, xpounds, xwhater they can simply say it costs xpoints (credits) and then sell the points in whatever local markets at their fair rate (based on their economy). Not everything in this world is sinister...

Sure, it does have an interesting side effect of masking cost, but seriously big deal. the math is easy anyway.

RE: Stupid points system...
By quiksilvr on 3/16/2011 3:27:33 PM , Rating: 2
That doesn't make any sense. Just have th store convert it depending on the region you're in, it's not difficult for them.

Yes it's a nice even number for us (80 points per USD) but what if you have Yen? Pound? Sterling? Do the conversions, you'll see some crazy numbers.

RE: Stupid points system...
By Mitch101 on 3/10/2011 1:30:14 PM , Rating: 3
I dont like to see a scam like this go down but I for once am glad it did.

Death to the points its stupid and annoying!

RE: Stupid points system...
By theapparition on 3/10/2011 1:31:19 PM , Rating: 4
I agree, however, MS's attempt at points was to enable consistant pricing across regions and isolate them from currency exchange fluctuations.

My own conspiracy theory is that if you see an map pack that costs $20, people would be like no f'n way. But when they see it's 1000 points, they don't think twice.

RE: Stupid points system...
By FITCamaro on 3/10/2011 1:52:14 PM , Rating: 3
The other purpose was to not require a credit card to purchase things on the marketplace. A young kid can buy 2000 points and then enter the code rather than have a credit card.

See for me it adds thought to it. I have to do a conversion to how much the required points are worth to see if the content is worth the points.

RE: Stupid points system...
By phattyboombatty on 3/10/2011 2:07:52 PM , Rating: 3
A young kid could buy a $10 Microsoft card with a code printed on it, then enter that code and get $10 credited to his account balance. There is no need for there to be a point system to avoid having to use credit cards.

RE: Stupid points system...
By Brandon Hill on 3/10/2011 2:10:54 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. You give a kid a $20 iTunes gift card and they think they've struck it rich.

RE: Stupid points system...
By Smilin on 3/10/11, Rating: -1
RE: Stupid points system...
By Brandon Hill on 3/10/2011 3:06:53 PM , Rating: 5
You know what I mean. ITunes operates in multiple countries, and Apple doesn't seem to have a problem accounting for currency fluctuations and differing currencies.

The points system is antiquated.

RE: Stupid points system...
By tallcool1 on 3/11/2011 11:39:31 AM , Rating: 2
Couldn't agree more, the point system is just MS's way of hiding how much money your spending, give yourself a 6! :-)

RE: Stupid points system...
By nikon133 on 3/13/2011 7:47:07 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed completely.

PSN also works that way - I am living in NZ and buying things of PlayStation Network priced in NZ$.

I can get $30 and $50 gift cards in local game shops or transfer money from my credit card. One way or another, $50 spent will give me $50 on my PSN account. Works like a charm for me. Not that points are hard to grasp, but they introduce one completely unnecessary calculation.

RE: Stupid points system...
By Hiawa23 on 3/10/2011 7:48:38 PM , Rating: 2
people bashing the points system, but honestly what difference does it make? Let's say, 100 pts equal $1.25. $4.99 gets you 400 pts. I use all my points, so the point system is not an issue. Either I use em now or on something else later. This is the system we have & MS aint changing so all the whining is moot as far as I a concerned.

RE: Stupid points system...
By TSS on 3/10/2011 8:50:10 PM , Rating: 2
It's 3 things that trick you: it's the "get something else later", the "it's only 100 points" and "the breaking up of expansions".

the "get somethign later" is easy. Most people buy too much points. If a game costs 4800 points while you can buy in 800, 4000 and 6000 quantities most people will buy the 6000 and "spend the rest later". This is money that they wouldn't have had if you'd gone to the store since then, you'd actually gotten what you wanted instead of what you wanted + something you MIGHT, but just as well might not want.

The "it's only 100 points" is simple too. The majority of people will stop converting points to money and just buy stuff that's a small amount. which means your actually paying more then you would in a store (which costs more trouble since you have to go outside and shop etc).

the "breaking up expansions" is where the devil in this all hides. Instead of selling you an expansion of content for $30 they can sell you the same content, in chunks, for $50. Druglords do the same, distribute drugs down to alot of dealers and sell in small chunks while buying in big. Hell, it's what everybody does, since everybody knows it's cheaper to buy in bulk. So it's very expensive to buy everything not only a piece, but per chunk.

Combine those 3 and you have a system that strongly encourages impulse buys and profit (remember, all of this is digital. they don't have to run a physical store for it which cuts out a lot of middle men).

RE: Stupid points system...
By tallcool1 on 3/11/2011 11:44:56 AM , Rating: 2
One thing you forgot to add is that per your comment of people buying more points than they need so that they have a positive point balance, is that you are giving MS an Interest free loan until you spend it! I am sure MS appreciate all the extra points (money) people have that go unspent on their MS account that they can make money off of.

RE: Stupid points system...
By rudy on 3/12/2011 1:38:06 AM , Rating: 2
On top of that they know that some amount of points never will be spent. Just like airlines and frequent flier miles, and stores with gift cards.

RE: Stupid points system...
By sleepeeg3 on 3/10/2011 10:28:34 PM , Rating: 2
This is why the Zune marketplace gets none of my money for mp3 downloads. Being forced to buy X amount of points to download one song is absurd.

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson
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