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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

November 10, 2011 at 3:02 PM

Valve’s Steam service hacked

Users of Valve’s Steam game service are getting a disturbing message from Gabe Newell, co-founder of the Bellevue company.

The hugely popular game service was hacked on Nov. 6 and forums were “defaced,” Newell said. Further investigation found that the intruders also gained access to a database with user names, passwords, email addresses and billing information.

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Steam describes itself as the world’s largest gaming service, with 35 million active users and availability in 237 countries and 21 languages.

Intrusions into game networks aren’t that uncommon. A broader attack took down Sony’s PlayStation Network for much of the spring.

Credit card information in the compromised Steam database was encrypted and Newell said there’s no evidence that card numbers or personally indentifying information were taken. But he advised Steam users to watch their credit card activity anyway.

Newell’s message said only “a few” forum accounts were comprimised but all forum users will have to change their passwords.

An excerpt:

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.

Newell told users he’s “truly sorry this happened, and I apologize for the inconvenience.”

The note is being sent to all Steam users and to the press, earning Valve a few bonus points for transparency, at least.

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