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Authenticator fails, removed from account without user's permission

Mike Schramm

Editor's Note: This entire situation has been debunked. The authenticator was not hacked, compromised, or forcefully removed. The account had been shared, and the authenticator along with it. Authenticators do not offer any security if you give it away. If you're worried about other account security myths, our own Michael Sacco has tackled them in a mythbusting series.

Think a Blizzard Authenticator will keep your account from being hacked? Think again -- we've got our first known report of someone who was protecting their account with one of Blizzard's keys, and still got their character hacked down to their undies. Someone in this forum thread apparently logged out one night and logged on the next morning to find her account stripped of everything but PvP gear, and her Authenticator no longer connected to her account.

Supposedly, to deactivate an Authenticator from an account, you need to get in touch with Billing services, and reportedly they'll then ask for a notarized statement with a picture, like a driver's license, just to remove the Authenticator. But obviously, this one was removed even without that, and we're being told that all you might need to remove the Authenticator is the answer to the user's secret question and a CD key (or even less). In other words, the fault isn't with the technology, it seems to be with the support reps on Blizzard's side of the phone line -- if they can be convinced to remove the Authenticator, the account can then be hacked.

The little keys have been selling like hotcakes since they were released -- almost everyone has figured that $6.50 was cheap for peace of mind. But while an Authenticator still does provide an extra step in security, the sad truth is that it hardly makes an account impermeable.

[Via BRK]

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