In the past two months, several people I personally know have had their PlayStation accounts hacked. All have gotten control of them again, but only after varying degrees of time spent either online or on the phone with Sony support. One person lost control of his account and, weeks later, after he’d gotten control of it again, he was again hacked, and this time his account was banned.
After some further time with support, he was able to regain control of the account, but it brought up some worrying thoughts.
If you lose your PlayStation account, you can simply create a new one, but that’s far from ideal. In doing so, you lose your trophies and friends list, but you also lose all the digital games you’ve purchased (which includes DLC for disc-based games).
Last year, PlayStation finally implemented two-step verification, and I can’t encourage you enough to set up this protection. Basically, each time you sign in on a new device, you will be sent a code to your phone, and you will need to enter that code before you will be signed in. You only have to do this for the first time on each device, not each time you boot up (unless for some reason you had your system configured as such).
As soon as the first person I knew got hacked, I immediately set this up. It doesn’t take long, and it’s not a hassle in the least. I think a lot of us don’t necessarily think about our online gaming security until it has been compromised or, in this case, someone we know has been compromised.
I’d encourage everyone to set up two-step verification on any account possible. Xbox Live has had this service for quite some time now; Steam has as well. The only major player that hasn’t offered this yet is Nintendo.
Another level of security would be to change your passwords periodically. Using unique passwords for various online accounts is preferable, and many encourage you to use non-traditional words (words you wouldn’t necessarily find in the dictionary) and number combinations to increase password strength. Various inclusions of caps and symbols is also recommended.
I know this is a bit of a boring reminder, but I’d hate to see anyone out there lose access to any of their online gaming accounts, as well as their digital purchases. My friend whose account was recently hacked was also banned for security reasons. That means the person who was trying to gain access to it wouldn’t have been able to use it either; it would have been a waste all around. Please protect yourselves and take the five minutes to set this up. It’s easy, free, and invaluable.
Have you ever been hacked? If so, did you have a relatively easy time regaining your account? Or was it a frustrating process? Do you already have two-step verification set up on your online gaming accounts? If not, do you plan to?
As much as I love gaming online, I’d be remiss not to acknowledge that security is an issue. Let’s all do what we can to stay safe.