Authenticator locking itself

For the third time, just now, only hours before our progression raid on Sindragosa which hopefully I was due to join (ie. not rotated), my goddamn authenticator locked itself.

This is the third time!

I doubt I’ve been hacked, this is some strange behaviour in the battlenet system.

Makes me want to punch the wall and break my knuckles. Then cry a lot.

Update: 24 hours later, still can’t log on. Blizzard have unlocked it twice now, but then I get a logon error. This is so goddamn annoying.

Update: comments below suggest my authenticator fob is not working properly. If you’re in a similar situation, yes, Blizzard phone queues are so long they are not taking new callers. You can keep trying and hope you get through.

Final update: the authenticator was malfunctioning, for sure. Removed it, changed my email (to another one that I’ll never use publicly) and will probably buy an Android for the app.

Here are Blizzard’s contact details and phone numbers

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18 comments to Authenticator locking itself

  • You mean that the display just stays on the same number forever?  Mine did that last year, it just means that the keyfob is dead.
    It happened to me on a Friday night at 9pm before an EU holiday monday, which is just about the worst time possible.  At least you can call them up tomorrow (or today, or whatever an 18 hour offset does for you – you do have to deal with US customer service on Oceanic, right?)
    I switched over to an iPhone one once I had it dissassociated by Blizzard, then purchased a couple of new ones.  I’ve resolved to just change fobs once a year regardless of the state that it’s in.
    Interestingly, the RSA keyfob my company uses for VPN access has its display on all the time.  This puzzled me, but then I realized – they want these things to burn through the battery (which isn’t replaceable) before they hit the mean-time-between-failure point.  My company actually contacts you to swap it out at the 2 year mark for that very purpose.
    Hope it works out.

    • Gravity
      Twitter: gravitydk

      Ah, not that the display stays on but that battlenet has locked it. So it gives me a key, but when I try to use it to log onto the game (or Account Management), I’m told the authenticator has been locked.

      I have to deal with the USA, yes, so it’s like midnight there now and I was scheduled to raid in 3 hours time.

      I think the root cause is not the fob itself, but some peculiarity at Blizzards’ end.

  • Dogmeat


    Get it replaced pronto.  This happened to me and it’s a deteriorating issue.

    Basically authenticators are very simple devices.  They have an internal clock and are time-synced with the server, then generate a number based on that time using a simple algorithm that takes that time into consideration.  This is do-able because timing crystals have gotten accurate enough that the drift between the authenticator and the server should be minimal (think of two wrist watches that are synchronized, then you compare them a month later and see how far apart they are).

    They won’t be in perfect sync, however.  Normally the number changes every 30 seconds let’s say.  If it’s off by 1 second, there is a slight chance that the number you enter won’t match what the server thinks it should be.  If that 1 second starts to grow into 10 seconds, or 15 seconds, you are starting to get to where it’s a crapshoot whether it works on any given attempt.  Normally the drift on the timer is so small that it would take around 5 years to be off to be an issue, but that’s if everything is working properly.

    Mine had a faulty connection to the battery and kept getting worse until it was completely out of frame from the server and would never work again.  Customer service supposedly sent me a new one, but I have yet to receive it.  They did recommend that I change my account to a new unpublished E-mail address, which I did, in the mean time.

    The real kicker is that I was having invalid login attempts pretty regularly, thinking I was just fat-fingering my password.  Since I had my authenticator stripped, I’ve only entered my password wrong twice, so it obviously was the authenticator that was the issue all along.

    Don’t get me wrong; authenticators are great things.  But they can go bad.

  • BigFire

    I stop using authenticator fob and switch over to the smart phone (I use Android). Of course, now if my phone dies, I’m out of luck as well.

  • Meg

    I use an authenticator on my Android cell phone, and my issues with didn’t start until the day Patch 3.3 hit.  It repeatedly tells me I’m logging in with the wrong user name and password.  I can’t get in at wow’s website, either.  The interesting thing is, this always seems to happen at peak hours.  If I wait a few hours and try logging on at 2 AM or when I wake up for work in the morning, the problem is resolved.  This seems to be an issue with Blizzard’s server, maybe?  I wrote Blizzard and got a lengthy reply about all of the things I can do on my end to fix this, but it’s a moot point.

  • Gravity
    Twitter: gravitydk

    I’m not sure what to do, definitely will replace my authenticator with a new one of some sort but I don’t own an Android or iPhone.

    Yesterday they said it was unlocked, but when I tried to log on (on account management page), I then had a ‘logon failed’ error as opposed to the ‘authenticator has been locked’ error. So I have emailed them again this morning asking to be unlocked.

    I couldn’t call them, because their phone queues were so high the system announced they were not taking any more callers at this time!

  • Kuren

    I’ve considered getting an authenticator but worried about getting locked out at bad times.  Are these issues really happening that often?
    For people who have had issues, what does it take to either remove the authenticator or to get a new one setup.  I would probably use my iPhone as the authenticator, especially from the comments here that suggest that the Blizzard authenticators may be cheap?  I’ve used the RSA authenticators at a company before and in my experience those never died or had issues.

  • Gravity
    Twitter: gravitydk

    The phone for accounts at Blizzard is stupid. They are so busy, they do not even put me in the queue! Just say “too busy, please email us”.

    I do not want to play without an authenticator, but this is a major pain in the ass! I can’t even log on to account management to change it to a new one, if I had one, or disable the current authenticator, because… the stupid thing is locked and I need it to log onto account management!!

  • Gravity
    Twitter: gravitydk

    Still can’t get in, I am furious. Must be fixed by Sunday night.

    • Tempted to get up at 1am Australian time to get on their phones.
  • rotnronnie

    I had issues after the time changed (DST) last week with my phone authenticator. I manaually changed to time back and I could log in again. Try changing the time on your pc.

    • Gravity
      Twitter: gravitydk

      Timezone, that’s an interesting possibility. At the moment though, I just want the damn thing removed, and I’ll play on Linux for security, then buy an Android or iPhone maybe.

  • Dogmeat

    You’re completely out of phase now (your FOB thinks it’s over 30 seconds earlier or later than the server, so they can never produce the same number).  It will NOT work no matter what you do.  If you can get through their phone system, remove your authenticator immediately.

    • Gravity
      Twitter: gravitydk

      Trying now (again) but they’re just not taking new phone calls, still! How fucked up is that.

      What you have to do is sit at your phone, just hit redial again and again until the roulette lets you in. I’m now on hold after about 20 minutes of hitting redial.

  • Kuren

    Ouch, that’s rough Gravity.  Sorry to hear about the troubles.  You know you’re really talking me out of the authenticator!  I’m on a Mac and fairly security conscious and have not had issues but it never hurts to be as safe as possible.
    I could be wrong but the pictures make it look cheaper than the RSA-brand authenticators that I’ve seen in the past.
    Anyone have any feedback on the iPhone authenticator?  Any troubles?  Seem like it would be easy to get up and running with it again if your iPhone died?   It wasn’t clear if you could quickly move to another iPhone if needed.

  • Gravity
    Twitter: gravitydk

    I have removed the fucker and am back in now. Thank goodness.

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