Nintendo admits over 160,000 accounts hacked – here's how to check yours is safe

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Nintendo has confirmed that over 160,000 Nintendo Network accounts have been hacked, following an investigation into reports that Nintendo Accounts were being hacked en masse.

According to a blog post by Nintendo Japan (translated by Google), over 160,000 Nintendo Network accounts have been hacked since the beginning of April. 

"This time, using a login ID and password information obtained illegally by some means other than our service, a phenomenon that seems to have been made by impersonating the "Nintendo Network ID (* 1, NNID)," explained the post.

An Nintendo Network ID is different to a Nintendo account in that it is used to make purchases on the Wii U and 3DS, while a Nintendo account is needed to make purchases on the Switch. But many players have both accounts linked to each other to allow them to combine eShop funds across devices. Nintendo has now abolished the ability to log in via NNID, and will subsequently reset passwords for Nintendo Network IDs and Nintendo accounts that may have been affected.

The investigation was launched after many online Nintendo Account holders reported receiving messages alerting them to unauthorized account access. The issue was occurring in multiple countries and, in some cases, hackers were using hijacked account's saved PayPal details to purchase in-game currencies, such as Fortnite’s VBucks.

Here's what to do

(Image credit: Nintendo)

According to Nintendo, you will be notified by email that your password has been reset. However, Nintendo is encouraging users to change the password they had. 

Nintendo also advises users who have logged into their account via NNID to log in with their Nintendo account email address / login ID after the next login.

While Nintendo reassures customers that there is no credit card information that has been viewed, it does admit that anyone who has the same password for their Nintendo account as they do for their Paypal may still be at risk of having their balance and registered credit card / PayPal illegally used at My Nintendo Store or Nintendo eShop. 

The company advises setting different passwords for your NNID and Nintendo account if this is the case. If you do spot any unauthorized purchases in your purchase history, related to your Nintendo account, then the company advises conducting an "individual investigation" and cancelling the purchase. 

"We will respond. Please wait as we will proceed with the procedure in sequence," Nintendo says.

But that's not all, Nintendo is also encouraging users to set up two-step verification for their accounts.

How to set up two-step verification on Nintendo Switch

  • Go to the Nintendo Account website and sign in to your Nintendo Account
  • Select 'Sign-in and Security Settings'
  • Scroll down to 'Two-Step Verification' and click 'Edit'
  • Select 'Enable Two-Step Verification'
  • Click 'Submit' to have a verification code sent to your registered email address
  • If you want to change your email address then select 'Email Address' under 'User Info'
  • Enter the verification code from the email, then Submit
  • Install the free Google Authenticator app on your smart device - via Google Play or App Store
  • Use the smart device app to scan the QR code displayed on your Nintendo Account screen
  • A six-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 press 'Submit'
  • A list of backup codes will appear, copy and paste these somewhere safe - a backup code will be needed if you can't access the Google Authenticator app
  • Click 'I have saved the backup codes', then 'OK'
  • Once two-step verification is enabled, you will need to log in using both your password and a code sent to your smart device via the Google Authenticator app

It's as simple as that, but it's worth noting that two-step verification is not available for child or supervised accounts.

Vic Hood
Associate Editor, TechRadar Gaming

Vic is TechRadar Gaming's Associate Editor. An award-winning games journalist, Vic brings experience from IGN, Eurogamer and more to the TechRadar table. You may have even heard her on the radio or speaking on a panel. Not only is Vic passionate about games, but she's also an avid mental health advocate who has appeared on both panels and podcasts to discuss mental health awareness. Make sure to follow her on Twitter for more.