About That Barn Door

I have broken with the long standing American tradition of closing the barn door only after the horse has bolted.

Previously, when I was signing up with Battle.net I noticed that my account was also good for the Blizzard Store.  How convenient, I guess.  So I went leafing through the store and ended up on the page for the Blizzard Authenticator.  It was only $6.50 and I have read enough tales of people, even quite bright people, getting their account hacked one way or another, so I decided to buck the trend and get the authenticator BEFORE something like that happened to me.

Weird, I know.  But now I have one.

Blizzard Authenticator

Blizzard Authenticator

The unit has an overlay on it with what appears to be a Terran Marine, the Lich King, and something that might be Diablo related, but which looks more like a rather ugly minotaur to me.  Not that minotaurs and Diablo are mutually exclusive, but they certainly don’t leap to mind when I think of the Diablo games.  Or it could be something else.  In any case, I take this as an indication that I will be able to use this unit with upcoming Blizzard games.  Well, that and the fact that I need the authenticator to access my Battle.net account as well as WoW.

As the blurb on the Blizzard site says, it is pretty durable.  I have had it on my key chain and in my pocket for a few weeks now and it hasn’t been damaged yet.

Initially it came with a piece of adhesive plastic over the front, the way that so many electronic devices do these days.  This particular piece was stuck on so well that at first I thought it was part of the actual unit.  So when my keys dug a groove in the cover on the first day, straight through where the numbers show up making it tough to read, I was a little annoyed.  Eventually though I was able to separate the temporary protective cover from the actual authenticator.  The picture above is sans cover.

Size wise, it fits in well enough with the other items on my key chain.  It is a bit smaller than the remote entry fob for my Toyota and the who key mechanism for the wife’s Honda.

On the key chain

On the key chain

Using it is simple enough.  It is from Vasco, who makes a lot of such units.  It looks and operates very much like units we have at the office from time to time when we have to do work on secure customer networks.

With WoW, you log in as usual, then are asked for an authentication code in a separate window.  I tend to not stray too far from my key chain, or my key chain tends to not stray far from my computer in any case, so it hasn’t been much of a bother.  The only issue I ever have is that I tend to play in the dark and the unit is not lit in any way, so I end up having to read it off of the light from the monitor.

Once in a rare moment I log in right on the time boundary when the code changes and have to enter a fresh code.  But I am much more likely to make a typo entering the code than to hit that moment just right.

Having adjusted quickly to the extra security when logging into WoW, I wouldn’t mind having a similar device for other games, especially EVE Online.

Actually, what I would really like is a universal device that could be used with other games.  That seems unlikely to happen, at least in the near future.

Of course now I worry about losing the damn thing.

Not that this is the top worry in my mind, what with the economy and being a parent and so forth.  But it is a worry, about on the level of worrying about dropping something in the toilet if the lid has been left up.  Around our house we’re more likely to have a cat fall in the toilet if the lid is left up (one kitten dunked so far, and Oscar has fallen in a couple times over the years), but it has happened on occasion.  And I do tend to take care of things that have value.  I used to get a new watch about once a year because I would either break or lose the old one.  Then I bought an expensive watch and have been wearing it for the last 23 years.

I’ll probably end up dropping my keychain in the toilet now that I have written this.  Or my watch.  Or both.

I wonder if the authenticator is water resistant?  I know the watch is.

And how long will the battery last on the unit?  And will I end up playing WoW long enough to care?

11 thoughts on “About That Barn Door

  1. Hudson

    I got mine a while back and it doesnt look as slick as that. Mine just has the blizzard logo on it.

    One thing to remember is if you want to you can use it on many accounts, and if you stop WoW you can remove it so that if you lose it its not earth shattering. When I stopped playing months ago I stripped my accounts of the authenticator and tucked it away in a drawer where it sits for eternity blinking a code that tries to hypnotize me to log back in.

    Dont think so.


  2. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    Well, I checked out the “remove authenticator” process and it requires you to enter authenticator codes… twice… to remove the authenticator from the account. I imagine that if I lose the authenticator I will end up having to call Blizzard support.

    And I noticed this morning that they are sold out of authenticators… again.


  3. Akura

    just in case no one’s mentioned it so far, these tags and similar ones are usually RSA SecureID tokens: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secure_ID_token

    I don’t play WoW, but I have one for logging into my online bank account. short of someone monitoring you typing in your details in real time or stealing your details plus the token it is very secure.


  4. Doom

    As a part-time mechanic, I’d recommend that you trim down your vehicle keychain somewhat. All those dangly parts, aside from tapping on your lap as you drive at times, can increase the wear on your ignition assembly. Your keys will also wear out faster, but it could potential cost you hundreds of dollars in steering column repair.


  5. We Fly Spitfires

    My big worry with something like the Authenticator is that I would lose it. If you do lose it, how do you log in? Do you have to contact Blizzard and get them to send you another one? Would suck :(


  6. Bullshatt

    I have a rule: never trust anyone with more than four keys on their key-chain – or an overstuffed wallet. Sorry bro …


  7. Pingback: Authenticator Annoyance « The Ancient Gaming Noob

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