Hackers probably stole Steam transaction data, Valve says

Valve found evidence that suggests Steam hackers copied encrypted credit card details and billing addresses

Valve has informed users of its Steam online game distribution platform that hackers have probably downloaded encrypted credit card transaction data from a backup database during an intrusion last year.

In November 2011, Valve announced that hackers gained unauthorized access to Steam's user database, but said that there was no evidence to suggest a leak of encrypted credit card details at that time.

However, that has since changed. "Recently we learned that it is probable that the intruders obtained a copy of a backup file with information about Steam transactions between 2004 and 2008," said Gabe Newell, Valve's co-founder and managing director, in an email sent Friday to Steam users.

According to Newell, the backup file contained Steam user names, email addresses, encrypted credit card details and encrypted billing addresses, but no account passwords.

Valve doesn't have reasons to believe that the sensitive transaction data was decrypted, Newell said. However, this possibility should not be excluded.

"As I said in November it's a good idea to watch your credit card activity and statements," Newell said. "And of course keeping Steam Guard [a Steam account security system] on is a good idea as well."

The company decided to send the email to Steam users before sending official breach notification letters as required by some states when credit card information is involved.

The investigation into the intrusion is ongoing, but authorities might already have a suspect in custody.

During a recent conference call between the FBI and the U.K. Metropolitan Police, law enforcement officials discussed the case of a 15-year-old hacker known online as TehWongZ, who got arrested before Christmas.

U.K. Metropolitan Police officials said that TehWongZ took credit for breaking into Steam in a written statement that listed his hacking achievements. The hacker allegedly said that he downloaded 32,000 Steam usernames, passwords and credit card details.

A recording of the official conference call was leaked onto the Internet on Feb. 3 by members of the Anonymous hacktivist collective. The FBI has since confirmed its authenticity.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?