Securing a Nintendo Switch account – Why important: In the spring of 2020, the news came that there were a lot of Nintendo Accounts were hacked. That hack turned out to be bigger than expected and that is a bad thing. With the stolen names and passwords, malicious parties got access to other people’s Nintendo profiles. If you are someone who, for example, uses their PayPal account or credit card information in combination with your Nintendo profile, there is a chance that someone else will incur costs in your name.
Fortunately, the account type, the so-called Nintendo Network ID (NNID), could no longer be used to log in to various Nintendo services shortly afterwards. That NNID was used on the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS, for example, but fortunately no longer for the Nintendo Switch. Nevertheless, it is a warning for anyone with a Nintendo console, for all gamers or just users of online accounts in general: protecting your profile with a password is not enough. Two-step verification offers a solution in such cases. Even if someone has your username and password, they still need a code that only you can generate, for example with a special app. Without that code, no one can enter your account, which therefore provides an extra layer of security.
Before we explain how to set up two-step verification for your Nintendo Switch account, it’s good to know that Nintendo has notified every user that someone has unauthorized access to their account. If you have not received a message from Nintendo, then you are lucky this time. But that’s no reason to wait for things to go wrong once.
Two-step verification for Securing a Nintendo Switch account
To start, go to accounts.nintendo.com (or you press the link under that address). There you log in with your current Nintendo Switch account or the account of the social network you have linked by pressing one of the buttons. On the left side of the menu, after logging in, you will find the heading Login and security settings. Click on that. At the bottom of the next page is a two-step verification. To the right of it is a button with which you can set an extra security layer. If you have not done this before, you will see the text “Not activated” under the heading.
Now click on the Edit button on the right. You will then be taken to a new page with the following text.
What is 2-Step Verification?
When you log in with your password, you will be asked to enter a confirmation code. At the same time, a one-time usable confirmation code is sent to an authentication app on your smart device. After entering this code in the login screen, you can use your account normally.
Two-step verification makes it much more difficult for another person to gain unauthorized access to your account.
The instructions provided here apply to Google Authenticator ™. There are other authentication apps available as well, which may work differently.
The text refers to the Google Authenticator application. This is a free application for Android and iOS. You can download the app by clicking on one of the two platforms of your choice in the previous sentence. This is a safe and accessible app, managed and updated by Google. Many services support that app. For example, you can also protect your accounts on Twitter, Instagram, Google, Stack, Facebook, Mailchimp and much more.
We will continue with the setup. You will need to confirm your email address on the next page. This is the email address associated with your Nintendo Switch account. Once you have done this, you will receive a code that you enter on the next page on the Nintendo website. You can copy that code from your email to the appropriate text field. Now confirm your choice.
The next page contains a three-step plan. Step one is to install the Google Authenticator app. You may have already done that because you were already using the app or else you may have already downloaded it while reading this article. Either way: it is important that you put or have that app on your smartphone. You tap the plus sign in the app at the bottom right, scan the QR code in the screen at step two and your Nintendo Account will automatically be added to your collection of two-step verification codes. There is now a six-digit code under your Nintendo Account. It is important that you quickly copy it and fill it in on the same page (under step three). Because as soon as the time is up (you can see that by means of an animation next to the code in the app), a new code is generated.
The last step is also important. You will receive backup codes from Nintendo. You can use those codes when you lose access to your phone or accidentally delete the Google Authenticator app. Without those backup codes, you could lose access to your Nintendo Switch account for good, so make sure to store those codes safely. Once you have completed all the steps, your account is now more secure than ever.