The creators of Fortnite came up with a clever way to protect people's accounts — and more companies should try it

Epic Games

In 2018, information about your entire life is stored on the internet – your friends, your family, your bank accounts, your work, and your hobbies – so securing your online accounts is more important than you think.

The best companies on the internet employ a method called multi-factor authentication, which usually means requesting two or more pieces of evidence, known as factors, to validate a user’s identity. Usually, that means presenting a password you came up with yourself, and then retrieving a second password that’s sent to you outside of the system, usually over an email or text message, to verify that you’re the real deal.

“Fortnite,” the most popular video game in the world right now, came up with a clever new way to encourage user security in a new patch to the game that landed August 23: If you protect your account by enabling two-factor authentication, you’ll unlock a special dance move in “Fortnite: Battle Royale.”

This benefits “Fortnite” players and the company behind the game, Epic Games

Not only do users win, because they’re getting something they want – emotes, or dances, are one of the ways that “Fortnite” has achieved over $US1 billion in revenue despite being a free-to-play game – but Epic Games also lowers the possibility of hackers, impersonators, or people otherwise trying to illegally access the game. And that saves the company money in the long run.

Data breaches, or even just dealing with customers with hacked accounts, can be very costly for companies, since they need to put more resources toward fixing holes instead of building on the main product. Reducing the number of calls into Epic Games’ security and customer service teams means more money saved, and more productive employees. So while players benefit by lowering the risk of a personal or financial headache, plus getting a nice little goodie in return, Epic Games is the real winner here.

Other companies could employ this same tactic

Too many companies simply hope users turn on multi- or two-factor authentication for their own sake, but the fact is, people are still pretty naive about internet security in the year 2018. (Lots of people still choose basic passwords like “12345.”)

What Epic Games has done, others could do. Epic Games took something that customers normally pay for, and gave it to them for free if they enabled two-factor authentication. Online services would be keen to follow suit, offering stuff like discounts or freebies in return for enabling tighter security. It’s a small cost to the company up front, but it pays off in the long run.

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