There are an inordinately high number of hacked accounts. This requires Blizzard to restore the accounts from server backups. As this is causing a lot of time and money for Blizzard they are considering making Authenticators mandatory for all WOW accounts.

Authenticators are external devices, usually a usb drive with an small led screen, that generates a number that must be entered in order for you to log-in to a service. The number generated is unique each time you log in. So no one should be able to hack your account, even if your system is infected by a key logger, as the number they steal from you will not be usable the next time you try to log in. Currently Blizzard has this functionality as an option, but they are slowly trying to get you to sign up on your own before they make the switch mandatory.

If you get an authenticator for your account you will receive an in-game pet that will follow you. Currently you can also buy the key chain authenticator for $6.50 or you can get the iPhone app for free.

The iPhone App

All the fine details of how to use your authenticator can be found here.

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