Game Service Hacked; Credit Card Data Acquired

Dennis Faas's picture

Valve Corporation, which is behind the major online video game retailer and social networking platform Steam, has been hacked. According to reports, gamer credit cards have been compromised, as well.

Steam is a major online gaming platform that provides nearly 2,000 games for play by some 35 million users based in 237 countries. Not only can visitors to the site download games, but they can also use the platform to easily organize multiplayer sessions, and can interact with one another through instant messaging.

User Database Infiltrated by Hackers

Given the massive size of Steam's user base, it's no surprise that word of the hack has made news around the world.

On Thursday, Valve founder Gabe Newell sent registered users of his site an email admitting that the hack not only affected Steam forums but that the intruders had gained access to a database holding gamers' personal data. As of today, reports suggest credit card data was also acquired.

Credit Card Data Was Encrypted

"This database contained information including user names, hashed and salted passwords, game purchases, email addresses, billing addresses and encrypted credit card information," Newell said in the letter. (Source:

Initial reports of the story suggest that credit card data may have been accessed by hackers, but not acquired. The latest reports suggest that the credit card data has indeed been lifted. The credit card data was stored in the database in an encrypted form, making it difficult to crack. (Source:

Newell warned "you should watch your credit card activity and statements closely."

Forum accounts on the site were also hacked, prompting Steam to require its users to change their forum passwords immediately, but is not yet requiring changes to users' account passwords.

Shady Advertising Tips Off Gamers

The problem first came to light when unsurprisingly tech-minded Steam users noticed that promotional posts were showing up for a site dubbed "".

The posts then encouraged users to click on a link that would supposedly give them access to everything from video game cheats to hacking tutorials to raunchy content. In essence, it did not look like a typical Steam advertisement.

Steam is keeping its forums closed until the problem is fully resolved. "I am truly sorry this happened," Newell said. "And I apologize for the inconvenience." (Source:

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