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Nintendo Switch accounts are being hacked – here’s how to stay safe

Updated Apr 20th, 2020 5:15PM EDT
Nintendo Switch accounts hacked
Image: Olly Curtis / Future Publishing/Shutterstock

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  • Nintendo Switch owners are reporting unauthorized access attempts to their accounts.
  • Nintendo has been telling customers to enable 2-Step Verification to secure their accounts.
  • Some of the Switch owners who had their accounts accessed report that the debit or credit card saved to their account was used to make purchases that they had to get refunded.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

With everything else going on in the world right now, the last thing that any of us need to deal with is having one of our online accounts hacked. Unfortunately, this is a reality that some people are being forced to deal with, as multiple Nintendo Switch owners chimed in on social media sites and online message boards this weekend claiming that their Nintendo Accounts had been accessed by unauthorized third parties.

One of the tweets to go viral came from LootPots founding editor Pixelpar, who revealed on Sunday that his account had been “accessed numerous times overnight.” He says that his password is a unique string and that his PC hadn’t been compromised. But his tweet was just the tip of the iceberg.

In a thread on ResetEra which is now ten pages long, several other Switch owners say that they experienced similar incidents. It’s unclear how widespread the issue is, though, as a majority of the people responding in the thread say they haven’t had their accounts breached, but are taking new precautions just in case. Interestingly, Nintendo was reminding its followers on Twitter to enable “2-Step Verification” just days ago:

In light of these attempts to access Nintendo Accounts, some of which have even resulted in unauthorized purchases, it’s probably a good idea to activate Nintendo’s version of two-factor authentication (2FA) as soon as possible. These are the instructions that Nintendo provides on its website:

  1. Go to the Nintendo Account website and sign in to your Nintendo Account.
  2. Select Sign-in and security settings, then scroll down to 2-Step Verification and click Edit.
  3. Click 2-Step Verification settings.
  4. Click Send email to have a verification code sent to the email address on file.
    • If the email address is incorrect, click the Email address menu setting under User Info to change it.
  5. Enter the verification code from the email, then Submit.
  6. Install the Google Authenticator app on your smart device.
    • This is a free app, available through Google Play (Android) and the App Store (iOS).
  7. Use the smart device app to scan the QR code displayed on your Nintendo Account screen.
  8. A 6-digit verification code will appear on your smart device. Enter the verification code into the field under step 3 on the Nintendo Account screen, then Submit.
  9. A list of backup codes will appear. Click Copy to copy all the codes, then paste them somewhere safe.
    • A backup code will be required to log in if you don’t have access to the Google Authenticator app. MAKE SURE TO KEEP THESE SOMEWHERE SAFE.
    • You can use these (one time each) if you do not have access to the Google Authenticator app.
  10. Click I have saved the backup codes, then OK.
    • Once set, you can return to the 2-step verification settings section to review the backup codes and remove the 2-step restriction.

The minor inconvenience of 2FA is completely worth the trade-off of keeping your account safe from hackers. And the fact that Nintendo was warning customers all over the world about securing their accounts just days before this small wave of unauthorized logins happened is likely not a coincidence.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.