Wed, Nov 14, 2012 | 13:10 GMT
Origin hacks: EA’s security checks lock users out of their own account – source
Origin has been hit by a string of hacks recently, according to threads of disgruntled games on EA’s forum claiming their their account has been hijacked and that they can’t regain access due to the publisher’s iron clad security policy – specifically their date of birth password reminder system. One user has told VG247 all about his ongoing attempts to get his stolen account back.
Our source – a gamer who had his account hijacked by who he believes to be a hacker in Belarus – told us that his account had been stolen and his security question answers altered to prevent him from reclaiming it.
He has since phoned EA repeatedly only to be stonewalled when asked for his date of birth – which the hacker has now changed. He told us that it felt like he was “Talking to machines,” and that despite providing receipts of every game purchased on his account, further identification, proof of address and game activation codes, he still cannot get his account back without providing the altered date of birth.
It’s a common issue it seems, as one look at EA’s Origin forum will uncover reams of threads dedicated to the same issue. NeoGAF has many of the most prominent threads compiled here.
One forum poster said of the issue, “I was shocked when advisor said that my date of birth is wrong. This just can’t be right, because my date of birth is my date of birth and me is me, how could my date of birth be different from what I know?
“There must be error in your database, or it was hacked or i simply made a mistake entering date of birth during registration, but letting the hacker just feel free to use/resell my account with games for which I paid money when i still can provide you tons of information is spitting in my face.”
Our source went on to echo the forum user’s sentiment on the matter, “A paying customer loses access to all eight of his games on Origin – bought for over a hundred pounds – and has no way of getting them back because of EA’s ludicrous ‘security’ policies, while some hacker in Belarus gets to play them without being questioned at all.”
VG247 asked EA for a comment on the matter last week, and while they were happy to take our sources details and resolve his issue, they have yet been unable to provide us with a statement or reason for Origin’s hijacking problems.
Eurogamer reported today that the same thing has been happened with Origin user’s email addresses, and that authentication could not be passed for similar reasons.
The solution on the Origin forum as proposed by EA is always the same – to contact Origin support – although as one user replied to the suggestion by saying that they had tried this, but with no success.
“I spoke to a live advisor this morning, but unfortunately he could not verify me because I couldn’t remember what date of birth I entered in my profile. My worry is that there is now no way for me to verify my account and I will no longer be able to access the games that I have purchased.”
It’s a valid concern and although it’s clear that some users are getting their Origin accounts back after a lot of phone calls, forum posts and stress, the issue doesn’t seem to be resolved fast enough in some instances.
The same forum user above posted their full account of the process they went through to get their account back:
“I’ve managed to get my account back today – 6 days after it was hacked. The first thing I did was contact EA LiveChat on the day of the hacking and spoke to someone to try to retrieve my account. They located my account via one of my game keys which I provided.
“However, they couldn’t verify me because I didn’t know what date of birth I used when I registered my account (it transpired that this was because my Origin account was either an old EA profile account which got converted to Origin or was created via Xbox Live, neither of which require a DOB when you first register).
“They insisted that they couldn’t do anything without the DOB. Because there was no way I could ever produce the DOB I asked them to escalate the issue to someone else – the LiveChat person was happy to do so, but still insisted that whoever it was escalated to would also need my DOB. This made me worried that I could never get my account back but was worth a shot because I had no other choice.
“About 4 days later I was contacted by someone from EA Customer Relations who arranged a phone call with me. When we spoke, they could see that the account had been hacked and verified my account by asking what my shipping address was and what games and game keys I had on the account. I had previous dates and order numbers ready from my purchases in case they need that info. After that they could get my account back.
“I’m really glad to get the games I’d paid for back and once I’d gotten through to someone from Customer Relations I was impressed with how quickly and efficiently they could resolve the issue.”
While the user above championed EA’s quick response, six days is a long time for someone to have access to your credit card details and game library. Again, the EA forums are a source of similar tales, suggesting that more must be done to safeguard Origin accounts.
We will continue to ask EA for a comment and update the story when we can.
Have you been affected? If you would like to get in touch with us to tell us your Origin issues then you can do so via our contact form.