EA shores up FIFA Ultimate Team security

Electronic Arts has moved to improve security on FIFA 12's Ultimate Team online game, which has been linked to phishing scams and the hacking of Xbox Live accounts.

EA has staunchly denied that lax Ultimate Team security is behind the spate of Xbox Live account thefts; both it, and Microsoft, attribute it to players falling victim of phishing scams, which the update, due this week for Xbox 360 and PS3, seeks to address.

Players will now only be able to send trade offers to members of their friends lists, and will have to set up a security question when they log in after the update is applied. In the event that someone tries to access an Ultimate Team account from a console that has not been used before, they will be required to answer the security question.

"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 a key part of that commitment," EA said in a statement. "While these measures make life much more difficult for those attempting to compromise others' accounts, it's still vitally important that you check your information."

Users whose Xbox Live accounts were compromised have pointed the finger at Ultimate Team, because Microsoft Points bought with their stored credit card data were typically spent on in-game virtual goods.

The update, due tomorrow on Xbox 360 and on Wednesday on PS3, also fixes bugs including one long-standing issue causing disconnections at the end of online matches.