The Xbox 360’s hard drive.

APRIL 1, 2012 According to a Drexel University study, resetting an Xbox 360 to original factory settings does not delete previously stored Xbox 360 credit card data from the hard drive. The research team purchased one of the consoles used, then applied generally available computer applications to search the hard drive for the consumer data. A Microsoft representative disputed the report, saying the Xbox 360 is not designed to save such credit information locally, and that all units refurbished by the company have their hard drives wiped of all user data.

Impact: We do not doubt the substance of the researcher’s findings that consumer data was obtainable on the used consoles they obtained. Personal data storage and data sharing is rightfully becoming a huge issue, especially on mobile phones. The common refrain from software, hardware and network providers is, “trust us.”  There is a reason why pre-paid game cards and usage cards are gaining in popularity. And theft is not always the issue. Too many consumers have had too many bad experiences with some service providers continuing to charge credit cards long after the service was cancelled. More attention needs to be paid to the service side of games as a service.