Valve beefs up security with Steam Guard

We were expecting more news from Valve to come out of GDC, following the announcement of the mysterious Big Picture Mode for Steam earlier this week. What we weren’t expecting was this: Steam Guard.


It does sound like an ironing product, though...

It’s a new security system using Steam and Steamworks, which will give users “greatly increased account security” by tying your account management to one specific PC. Simply put, nobody will be able to use another PC to modify or change your account settings, without your permission.

Doug Lombardi, Valve‘s Vice President of Marketing explains:

“If as a customer you are buying movies, music, games, or digital goods, you want to know that they are more secure than your physical goods.”

So – how does it work?
Steam Guard is set to use the upcoming Intel Identity Protection Technology (Intel IPT), which will be available with 2nd Generation Intel Core and Intel Core vPro processors. It’s like the World of Warcraft authenticator, generating a new “numerical password” every 30 seconds – but it’s integrated into the processor, rather than requiring a separate card or something on your keyring.

If anyone tries to modify your account from an unauthorised PC, you’ll be notified – handy!

Gabe Newell, President of Valve explains:

“Account phishing and hijacking are our #1 support issues. With Intel’s IPT and Steam Guard, we’ve taken a big step towards giving customers the account security they need as they purchase more and more digital goods.”

Intel are also pretty pleased with the idea, as George Thangadurai, General Manager of PC Client Services, explains:

“With over 30 million accounts worldwide, Steam is an ideal platform for Intel IPT. Those running Steam are investing in a robust digital collection of PC games. By adding hardware-based protection to these investments, we hope to bolster the amazing success of platforms such as Steam.”

Also useful, Steam Guard will be made available to third parties, using the Steamworks functionality. You might see this popping up in all sorts of games real soon now. Obviously – if you don’t have the Intel processor, you won’t have the functionality, but it sounds like this sort of technology is just around the corner, so you won’t be waiting too long.

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