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Origin hacks: EA’s security checks lock users out of their own account – source

Wednesday, 14th November 2012 13:06 GMT By Dave Cook

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.

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10 Comments

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  1. AlchemyFire

    Origin support is a joke. I was charged twice for the same online purchase. After composing an e-mail with all my details, attached receipt of purchase etc, I received a generic reply asking me to submit pretty much exactly what I had originally. A month later of backwards and forwards e-mails, with quite clearly people who actually no clue what they were doing, I lodged a dispute with PayPal. Nearly 2 months later, I received my refund.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Mike W

    Damn

    #2 2 years ago
  3. OlderGamer

    I never liked Origin, at all. What pisses me off the most with EA is that seemingly everything they sell has to be tied into Origin. I can’t just buy a damn game and play it. They want as much info from me as they can get. And they want me going online all of the time.

    And I am not even talking about the PC store/game client, I am talking about XB360 games where they want me to log on a PC/Mobile link my game and account and update info that they don’t even need in the first place and if I do it, they give me an in game “unlock”. I can think of several EA games like that, NCAA, BF, Madden, SSX. Of course you don’t always have to do that, unless that is you want to play your newly purchased game online.

    Mark my words I will NEVER use Origin the game selling store online. Bad enough I am jumping thro their hoops with a console game as it is.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. DSB

    Yeah, I wish GamersGate or GOG would come up with a client, I’d actually be inclined to use those.

    Origin is just a mess. Instead of having an interesting selection like GamersGate, they just take their games off other services. I think Warfighter sold something like 5 copies, great job!

    Instead of making it worth peoples while like Steam, they hike prices, and apparently none of those healthy profits are going into training their cheaply outsourced support staff.

    And of course there’s the knowledge that every time you buy something you’re conveniencing EA by sending an additional 30% toward helping them fund their next big “SOCIAL” “MOBILE” gaming adventure. Like Simcityville. I can’t have that on my conscience. 70% is bad enough.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. ScaryWorld

    LOL, GUYS! Today I finally got through tech support EA and returned my account. Before that, I waited 42 DAYS from the moment I created ticket on the page help.ea.com with no answer! Then I tried to call them 6 DAYS! And today, when I get through, they answered me “Please calm down!” I hate these freaks!

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Ireland Michael

    @5 However frustrating EA’s inepitude might be, that doesn’t give you the right to lash out at other human being, especially the support people trying to make up for EA’s mistakes.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. no_end

    I’m glad I have hundreds of non-EA games to play while they learn how to not suck, plus Tomb Raider, GTA5, Hitman, Bioshock Infinite, Farcry 3, Metro Last Light, etc. to keep me busy in 2013. No EA = No problem.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. SplatteredHouse

    @6: I could understand somebody getting put out after that period of time (ridiculous) without access to an account in which they’ve put time and money. You don’t know there was lashing out, viciousness on Scary’s part. Might have just been stressed/exasperated, and taken a piece of advice offered in a clumsy tone as an insult.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. AlchemyFire

    @6 When you have to explain the same thing, over and over and over and just get generic copy and paste replies, by someone who clearly hasn’t taken the time or is incapable of understanding a single question/problem in English, then the frustration builds up.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. dkolev80

    I am 100% sure EA were hacked. I am one of the victim. I realize this few hours ago.
    In the begging of September I got an email, telling me that telling that EA/Origin is aware with the problem of missing games. The seems to be send from support[at]ea.com and gmail did not recognize the email as span.
    Today, after another chat with the support, I asked again about this email. The support guy (who was very fiendly) told, that EA never send such email. Just after this I saw the message header – the email was send through script hosted in webi.ru
    As I understand I am not the only one, as EA try to convince me. My email changed to nistersn01[at]gmail.com and I do not know the birth date linked to the account
    I asked a friend of mine to post in the origin forum. Here is the thread: http://forum.ea.com/eaforum/posts/list/9054163.page

    #10 2 years ago