Duck and Cover: Steam forums compromised

As anyone who’s tried to visit them in the past few days can tell you, the Steam forums were taken down for “extended maintenance”. As anyone who’s spent any time on the internets over the past few years can tell you, that’s often code for “we were hacked”.

Unfortunately for Valve, that’s exactly what happened, with head honcho Gabe Newell sending out a personal message to all gamers explaining recent events, and explaining how the company plans to recover.

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.

Valve Software

(keeping an eye on things)

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.

Gabe.

Here’s a bit of a tl;dr version:

  • Steam has suffered a security breach.
  • Valve doesn’t know if your credit card has been compromised.
  • Nobody has taken responsibility.
  • Change your Steam forum password as soon as you can.
  • You should also change your Steam password – but remember that everybody else in the world is trying to do the same thing, so expect delays.

It’s not yet known whether Valve will compensate gamers for the downtime – which has only affected the Steam forums and seemingly not the digital distribution service itself.

It’s also not yet known quite why it took Valve four days to inform gamers that the forums had been “defaced”, and whether or not the company will cop the same sort of flak dished out to Sony over the PlayStation Network downtime earlier this year.

Until then, though – change passwords, keep an eye on your credit card statements, and prepare for Skyrim to unlock in your time zone.

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