Reports began to surface last year from players whose Xbox Live accounts were hacked after they played FIFA 11 and FIFA 12. Players' accounts were being activated on Xbox 360 consoles that were not their own, at which point their credit cards were charged for large amounts of Microsoft Points, then used on FIFA downloadable content.
As Kotaku reported last month, when asked about all the claims of hacked accounts, EA responded that the problem was not a FIFA hack directly, but, "some phishing experiment that uses FIFA as the end game because it's an attractive game."
EA is now releasing a patch for both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) and EA Sports Football Club (EAS FC) areas of FIFA 12. The Xbox version is released today, March 13; the PS3 patch arrives in North America on March 13 also, and on March 14 in all other regions. While the patch includes several gameplay and bug improvements, it most notably promises security enhancements to all FIFA accounts:
We're committed to doing everything we can in our game to help keep you safe from phishers and scammers, and our March game update is key part of that commitment:
While these measures will certainly make life much more difficult for those attempting to compromise others' accounts, it's still vitally important that you protect your information.
- It will now only be possible to send trade offers to people on your friends list.
- On entering FUT on your console for the first time after the update, you will be required to provide a unique answer to a security question.
- If anyone else attempts to enter your FUT account from a different console, they will be required to enter the answer to your security question.
Whether the accounts are compromised through a phishing attempt, as EA and Microsoft assert, or through an account vulnerability, as many players believe, the additional layers of account security should help to protect FIFA fans.