But fortunately, it's easy enough to keep your account under (virtual) lock and key by taking some precautions in advance -- and when we say "in advance," we mean these are things you should do right now. We'll walk you through the very basics of keeping your account secure with a good password and an authenticator. Read on for all you need to know about getting started with good security!
First steps to good security
The most basic thing you can do to keep your account safe is to pick a good password that's hard for others to guess. And while we've all heard this before, we'll repeat the basic advice for creating a strong password:
- It should be at least 8 characters long
- It should include a combination of numbers and letters
- It shouldn't include your character name, your email address, or any other easily guessable info
The next step to password security is making sure other people don't get your password: don't use the same password for other accounts or share your login information with friends. While it might seem harmless, it can lead to you losing your account.
Use extra authentication
While a good password and text message alerts make your account pretty secure, adding an authenticator makes your account as secure as you can possibly get it. So just what is an authenticator? It's a physical keyfob or a mobile phone app that generates a unique code you have to enter alongside your password in order to log in to Blizzard games or your Battle.net accoun on the web. This adds an extra layer of security, so to get into your account a thief would need not only your account name and password, but also your authenticator code -- which, unless they have your keyfob or mobile phone, isn't something they can get. (And, since authenticator codes are 6 to 8 digits long and change every 30 seconds, it's very difficult for a hacker to guess, too.)
Physical authenticators are available in the Blizzard Store for $6.50 each while the app version is available for iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone devices for free. Once you have your authenticator -- physical or digital -- it's easy to set up. You can follow the instructions in the customer support video above, or DIY it by going to Battle.net and logging on. At the Summary screen under Account Security, click on Add Security and follow the on-screen instructions to enable your new gadget. When you set it up, you have the option of requiring an authenticator key every time you log on or just requiring it once a week: requiring it for every login is definitely more secure.
If you misplace your authenticator, it gets broken, or you want to switch from the keyfob to the app (or vice versa), it's easy to disconnect your from your account so you can add a new one -- just be sure you're ready to replace it when you do, because we can't recommend going authenticatorless. Just go to Battle.net and log on: on the account Summary page, under Account Security, click on Manage Security Options and then Remove Authenticator at the page that comes up. If you have your authenticator -- and it's working properly -- it's quick and easy to remove it by entering in two consecutive authenticator codes.
We know, we know: this all seems pretty complicated. But, trust us on this, it's a lot less complicated than your account getting hacked. So before you next dive into the game, spend a few minutes of your time to secure your account. And if you want more info on account security, WoW Rookie will be covering how to keep your computer secure and how to recover your account after a hack soon.
Just because you're a newbie doesn't mean you can't bring your A-game to World of Warcraft! Visit the WoW Rookie Guide for links to everything you need to get started as a new player, from the seven things every newbie ought to know to how to get started as a healer or as a tank.