EA promises better security after rash of FIFA account thefts

Players lost access to their accounts after thieves tricked some customer service reps into giving up their info.

Electronic Arts says it's wrapped up an investigation into a rash of account thefts surrounding FIFA Ultimate Team accounts, and announced it's making changes to its security policies to better protect players from account breaches.

Specifically, EA apparently intends to improve security training for customer service representatives, add steps to the account verification process, and improve its customer service software's fraud detection to try and prevent erroneous account access.

Those changes are necessary because apparently hackers were able to access the accounts of several high-profile users not by targeting the players themselves, but by tricking EA customer support representatives through threats, social engineering, and phishing attempts. 

"At this time, we estimate that less than 50 accounts have been taken over using this method," EA stated.

Why so much work for some FIFA accounts? It all has to due with the practice of buying and selling FIFA player cards on the Ultimate Team transfer market. Some players have achieved prominence in the community for their talent at buying cards low and selling them high in exchange for FIFA in-app currency called "FIFA Coins."

EA won't give you any real money for those Coins, but they are a bit of a hot commodity on the black market. A quick Google search will lead you to several sites that won't just sell players Coins, but also will buy them from players as well. It's an unusual situation where high-profile game assets become worthy targets for hackers, and dozens of high-profile traders said their accounts were targeted.

It's obviously a frustrating situation for all involved. EA provides plenty of warnings that players need to protect their accounts, but when customer service representatives are a point of vulnerability in account access, it can be tough for the creators and players of FIFA to feel like the game is secure.

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