Stephen "Stepto" Toulouse Speaks Out On Hacking Attacks


Posted April 5, 2011 - By Stephen Johnson

Stephen ToulouseXbox Live director of policy and enforcement Stephen "Stepto" Toulouse has both the best and worst job on earth. On the good side, he's a big time, important guy at Xbox Live, so he probably makes a ton of dough, plus, he can ban anyone he wants. But on the negative side, Stepto has to deal with gamers with grudges, some of whom take it way beyond a nasty email or two.

Recently, Stepto's blog and Xbox Live account were compromised by someone named "Predator," who gained access through social engineering. Basically, he sweet-talked passwords out of someone at Stepto's hosting company, not exactly "hacking" in the classic sense, but the result is the same.

Predator said his motivation is altruistic: 

"I'm simply letting them know I'm willing to help them secure accounts from future hackers...All accounts are open for hacking," Predator explained.

Wow, Predator is a great humanitarian; no one who calls himself that would be preying on people, right?  But seriously, Stephen Toulouse doesn't believe Predator is "helping" any more than I do. He has a bit of a history with this hacker. He says the hacker has called his voicemail and left many messages that aren't exactly helpful. From an interview with Joystiq: "I have a six minute one where he and his friend discuss all the different ways they're gonna have sex with my wife," Toulouse said.

Stepto also got in a great dig at Predator and "hackers" of his ilk, saying:  "What these kids try and do is, all day long, they try and get my account or someone's account who's popular or prominent. We're talking like hours and hours and hours of phone calls and trading tips and tricks on forums. It's quite humorous sometimes to watch." In other words: Get a life, ya basement dwellers; when paying attention at all, real people are laughing at you.

Toulouse follows up with some serious consequences, "What he did, from a lot of people's point of view, I think, is a crime, and we're going to be investigating that," he said.

As much as I usually, instinctively, dislike anyone who's even remotely an authority figure, I interviewed Toulouse not long ago, and he's a stand-up guy who's humble, funny, and has a very difficult job. So big ups to Stepto for handling a difficult situation with class. That having been said: Change your passwords a lot.

All of the best people are following Steve Johnson's twitter feed. Also, email me if you wanna.

Stephen "Stepto" Toulouse Speaks Out On Hacking Attacks


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