Business, Software Programs, Technology Security

Valve Apologizes: Steam Hacked, Around 40 Million Gamers Compromised

Valve Corporation, owners of Steam digital content distribution service just announced that the service has been hacked. Close to 40 million accounts have been hacked. However, according to Valve’s statement, the credit card files could or were not taken, but given that the hacked database contained "user names, hashed and salted passwords, game purchases, email addresses, billing addresses and encrypted credit card information" – we can only presume that the theft included financial information.

Following Sony and their 70 million account theft, to this date over 160 million accounts were stolen in 2011 alone. With Valve achieving revenue in excess of estimated one billion dollars in 2010, we cannot wonder why the company did not employ more security consultants (read: white glove hackers) in order to bullet-proof the service, especially in the light of Sony’s hacking which crippled that service to the point on not operating for over a month.

We hope that we, as well as any Steam user reading this won’t be affected. We highly advise you to contact your bank and warn of potential misuse of the  cards and change your Steam password immediately.

This is the message Gabe Newell, Valve’s Co-founder and Managing Director sent out to users:

"Dear Steam Users and Steam Forum Users,

Our Steam forums were defaced on the evening of Sunday, November 6.  We began investigating and found that the intrusion goes beyond the Steam forums.

We learned that intruders obtained access to a Steam database in addition to the forums. This database contained information including user names, hashed and salted passwords, game purchases, email addresses, billing addresses and encrypted credit card information. We do not have evidence that encrypted credit card numbers or personally identifying information were taken by the intruders, or that the protection on credit card numbers or passwords was cracked. We are still investigating.

We don’t have evidence of credit card misuse at this time. Nonetheless you should watch your credit card activity and statements closely.

While we only know of a few forum accounts that have been compromised, all forum users will be required to change their passwords the next time they login. If you have used your Steam forum password on other accounts you should change those passwords as well.

We do not know of any compromised Steam accounts, so we are not planning to force a change of Steam account passwords (which are separate from forum passwords). However, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to change that as well, especially if it is the same as your Steam forum account password." 

We will reopen the forums as soon as we can.

I am truly sorry this happened, and I apologize for the inconvenience.