Reports are starting to emerge online that Microsoft may have initiated a cull of Xbox Live accounts belonging to users of modified games consoles. One claims that a "trusty source" working in a call centre which handles Xbox 360 accounts has had an influx of "screaming teenagers who don't don't understand the terms of use that comes with the console they bought". That same posting suggests that as many as 600,000 Xbox Live accounts across North America have been disabled so far.

Comments to another forum confirm that Xbox owners in Europe are also seeing accounts banned for having modifications such as flashed firmware on the DVD drive.

It would seem that the move is against those owners whose consoles have been modded to play pirated games and suggests that owners of such modified consoles should not login to Xbox Live until after the Christmas holidays as the cull should be over by then.

I have had my fair share of Xbox 360 hardware problems but have not been tempted into taking my revenge on Microsoft by going down the modded console route. I have to say that I'm glad I have stayed legal now, after all without Xbox Live the 360 is about as much use as a one legged man at an ass kicking party.

As Editorial Director and Managing Analyst with IT Security Thing I am putting more than two decades of consulting experience into providing opinionated insight regarding the security threat landscape for IT security professionals. As an Editorial Fellow with Dennis Publishing, I bring more than two decades of writing experience across the technology industry into publications such as Alphr, IT Pro and (in good old fashioned print) PC Pro. I also write for SC Magazine UK and Infosecurity, as well as The Times and Sunday Times newspapers. Along the way I have been honoured with a Technology Journalist of the Year award, and three Information Security Journalist of the Year awards. Most humbling, though, was the Enigma Award for 'lifetime contribution to IT security journalism' bestowed on me in 2011.

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