Were you one of 300,000 people who had their Nintendo account hacked?
Back on April 21, 2020 Nintendo confirmed that it was experiencing “reports of unauthorized access to some Nintendo accounts.” Nintendo says it investigated the issue and determined that people were using re-used Nintendo Network ID credentials to log in.
Switch owner John links his old 3DS NNID to his new Nintendo account. He reuses his password, ‘hunter2’ on a Nintendo gaming forum. When hackers breach the gaming forum and leak unsalted passwords, now John’s email and password combo are in the wild.
Hackers try these leaked email/password combos on other sites to see if they can get in. This is the number one reason why you should never re-use a password. These ‘Nintendo hackers’ have exploited a weakness in your online security, they haven’t technically hacked anything.
Once they find a live account with payment information, they buy Fortnite V-Bucks. $100 V-Buck bundles can be re-sold on the black market, making it a profitable venture for hackers. So how do you prevent things like this from happening? There are two ways.
“While we continue to investigate, we would like to reassure users that there is currently no evidence pointing towards a breach of Nintendo’s databases, servers, or services. As one action in our ongoing investigation, we are discontinuing the ability to use a Nintendo Network ID to sign in to a Nintendo account. All other sign-in options remain available.”
– Nintendo spokesperson
Use Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Two-factor authentication requires an additional code from your personal smartphone to log in. Even if a hacker somehow manages to get your password, they cannot log in without this 2FA key. 2FA login is supported on iOS and Android and is a great first step to keeping your Nintendo account secure.
- Go to the Nintendo Account website.
- Select Sign-in and Security Settings.
- Scroll down and select 2-Step Verification.
- Click 2-Step Verification settings.
- Click Send email to verify your email address.
- Enter the verification code you received.
- Install the Google Authenticator app or Authy.
- Scan the QR code displayed on your Nintendo account.
- Enter the 6-digit verification code from your smartphone, then click Submit.
- A list of backup codes will appear. Click copy to copy all the codes and paste them somewhere safe. You will need these backup codes to log in if you lose access to your smartphone.
Did you know you can control whether transactions are approved using Privacy.com? It’s a free service that links with debit cards to give you more control over your transactions. Users can generate unlimited virtual cards and pay for digital services with restrictions.
Only want to allow $50 per transaction? You can do that. Only want to allow $300 spent total at a single merchant? Totally doable. Stop sharing your real debit card information with merchants.
If a Privacy card gets breached, you can simply delete it and generate a new one.
Card controls give you more control over whether money can be spent on digital services. If you sign up for Privacy using our referral link, you’ll get $5 toward your first purchase using the service.
I have it set up for PlayStation, Nintendo account, Spotify, Netflix, and most digital services. It is also useful for taking advantage of free trial offers you’re not sure you want to keep longer than the trial. Privacy is the perfect companion for anyone who buys things online.
Everyone who does business online is susceptible to credential stuffing and phishing accounts. Using 2FA on your accounts and Privacy to protect your payment info is a great combo.
For now, it’s best to take Nintendo’s advice and enable 2FA. Even if you’ve never reused your password, you never know when a breach might occur.
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