If you own an old Xbox 360 console and want to give it to a friend or turn it in for cash or credit at your local video game store, you may want to think twice before doing so. Kotaku reports that according to a research team at Drexel University, the console could still have your credit card information stored inside, even if you restore the console back to its original factory conditions.
The research team claims they bought a refurbished Xbox 360 console in 2011 and then used a basic modding software tool to access the console's folders. Eventually, the team was able to gain access to the credit card information inside the console, presumably belonging to an earlier owner of the console.
According to researcher Ashley Podhradsky, experienced Xbox 360 modders could easily be able to do the same thing as the research team, saying, "Anyone can freely download a lot of this software, essentially pick up a discarded game console, and have someone's identity." Podhradsky recommends that if you do give up your own Xbox 360 console, it's best to take out the console's hard drive and attach it to a computer. Users can then download and use any number of PC sanitation programs to wipe out the hard drive completely.
As of now, Microsoft has yet to respond to the research team's claims.
Update - In a statement sent to Joystiq, Microsoft says it is looking into the matter but added, "Xbox is not designed to store credit card data locally on the console, and as such seems unlikely credit card data was recovered by the method described."