Seri sez: It’s not paranoia if they really are out to get you.May 7, 2009
This isn’t exactly breaking news, but the Battle.net Mobile Authenticator is now available for iPhone and iPod Touch. (More coming soon, I hope!) I’ve sung the praises of Blizzard’s authenticators before, so I will try not to be more redundant than usual. You might be surprised to hear that I don’t actually own one of those spiffy little dongles, given how passionately I spoke about account security.
What can I say? I’m cheap/lazy. Do as I say, not as I do.
The mobile authenticator, on the other hand… wow, they really ran me out of excuses this time. It’s free (which appeals to my frugal nature), it’s for iPhone (which is the only phone I have, Mr. Seri and I don’t even have a land line) and… did I mention it’s free?
Laziness did win out for a few weeks, but I finally got around to downloading the app yesterday and syncing it with my Battle.net account. It was very easy to set up; once you have the app installed it gives you a unique serial number that you plug into your Battle.net account (click “Change Security Options” after you log in to the Battle.net site) along with whatever the current security code is on the app. That’s it!
Once you’ve synced the app with your account, you’ll be prompted to enter a security code whenever you log in to your account so be sure you keep your mobile device handy. The code changes every 20 seconds or so, so you’ll need to be quick about typing it in before it expires.
This code is technomagical… it’s tied to your serial number in such a way that you can’t just use any authenticator to log in to an account that requires a code. You have to use your authenticator code, the one that’s tied to your authenticator’s serial number, or it just won’t work. For this reason, you have to be careful about doing anything that might change your serial number (deleting the app, restoring the device to factory defaults, etc) unless you log in to your account first and turn off the security setting to require an authenticator code. When you go back to turn it on, it will prompt you for a serial number again. Of course, a Blizzard rep can turn this setting off for you after verifying your identity… which I’m sure wouldn’t cost you more than a few vials of blood, a kidney and your firstborn.
Although Blizzard’s documentation indicates that you must have wi-fi access to use the authenticator, it seems to be working just fine for me over 3G.
I know that I’m probably going to have some ‘incidents’ in the future where I get annoyed with the inconvenience of having to dig my phone out just to log in (and I know for a fact there is going to be a problem with me forgetting my phone on my desk at home when I leave for work in the future) but I tell myself that it’s for the best. It gives me peace of mind, and keeps the grubby little paws of uninvited guests out of our guild bank.
Though, the irony hasn’t escaped me that my Battle.net account is now more secure than my online banking. Excuse me, I think I need to go change some passwords.