Steam Database and Forums Hacked

Steam
Earlier, an announcement from Valve CEO Gabe Newell was recently posted on the Steam forums stating that the forums had been hacked and defaced, and that the break-in extended to the Steam user database.

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.

Gabe.

An image of the forum defacing reveals that the website Fkn0wned appeared to be the culprit. However, CNet noted that a post from the founder on the site in question said the following:

I can say I didn’t authorize anyone to do what happened so Fkn0wned shouldn’t be held responsible. If a member performs illegal actions in our name, there’s not much we can do about that other than to ask that member to stop. If a rival site is deliberately trying to bring us down by placing the attention of Valve’s legal department on us, there’s not much we can do about that either. It’s how this scene works and I’ll have to accept that.


Analysis: It’s promising to see that not only did Valve notify people within four days of the compromise, they also had secured the data with proper encryption. Additionally, upon the realization that the forums had been compromised, they double-checked everything else. Unlike Sony, Valve clearly have their priorities straight and probably practice good security.

However, it has not been revealed how the break-in occurred, so they are not off the hook entirely. Whereas minor issues are rather common in the Internet security world, a database compromise of this scale is alarming. Either someone overlooked something or a zero-day exploit was used. Whatever the case may be, Valve will likely be more transparent with the situation than Sony was with PSN. I expect more details to be released in the next few days.

Just as Gabe did, I would recommend everyone change their passwords for Steam and the forums. Additionally, if Valve receives reports of unauthorized activity, I would also recommend requesting a new card number from your bank or creditor. It might be a good idea to do this regardless to be safe, but if if everyone did this every time they caught wind of a database compromise, I fear there wouldn’t be enough numbers for everyone.

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Joshua Moore

About Joshua Moore

Joshua has been a gamer for a long time, starting back with the NES as a child. Since then his interests branched from game systems to general electronics; an avid fan of technology and computers, Joshua graduated with honors from the University of South Florida and now holds a degree in Electrical Engineering. His favorite games include Valkyrie Profile, BlazBlue, Left 4 Dead 2, and Ocarina of Time. Additionally, he attends various BlazBlue tournaments and tries to pick up other anime or air-dasher fighters whenever possible.