Microsoft is investigating problems with gamers being booted off Xbox Live by malicious hackers.

Hackers are using data flooding tools in revenge attacks on fellow Xbox gamers. Chris Boyd, director of malware research at Facetime Communications told BBC News: "There's been a definite increase in the amount of people talking about and distributing these things over the last three to four weeks."

"The smart thing about these Xbox tools is that they do not attack the Xbox Live network itself," Boyd said, noting that the hackers are able to identify the IP address of the Xbox 360 hosting a game, then hit it with a Denial of Service (DoS) attack.

Data flooding woes

Boyd explains that hackers "get your IP address, put it in the booter tool and they attempt to flood the port that uses Xbox traffic. Flooding that port prevents any traffic getting out."

Microsoft said in a statement: "We are investigating reports involving the use of malicious software tools that an attacker could use to try and disrupt an Xbox LIVE player's internet connection."

"This problem is not related to the Xbox Live service, but to the player's internet connection. The attacker could also attempt [to] disrupt other internet activities, such as streaming video or web browsing, using the same tools."