Wow. Steam, the online entertainment platform created by Valve that offers gaming, content sharing and community elements, released a blog post yesterday addressing the communities concerns about the Steam security that is in place around the system. Steam admit that the security issues have been around from the beginning but ever since the introduction of Steam Trading they have seen the issue rise twenty-fold. Steam Trading is the act of trading – buying or selling – games, steam items and in-game items. Trading Cards are very popular. You can also be more benevolent and gift people items.
When an account is hijacked the hijackers then pillage and loot just like the Vikings (well maybe not that bad) taking all the users items and selling them on, these get sold again and again and innocent users end up with them, making it much harder for the original user to get back what is theirs. Vale had this to say in their blog:
What used to be a handful of hackers is now a highly effective, organized network, in the business of stealing and selling items. It would be easier for them to go after the users who don’t understand how to stay secure online, but the prevalence of items make it worthwhile to target everyone. We see around 77,000 accounts hijacked and pillaged each month. These are not new or naïve users; these are professional CS:GO players, reddit contributors, item traders, etc. Users can be targeted randomly as part of a larger group or even individually. Hackers can wait months for a payoff, all the while relentlessly attempting to gain access. It’s a losing battle to protect your items against someone who steals them for a living.
Valve has been working tirelessly to help improve the security of accounts by closing loopholes, educating users and bringing in two part authentication, Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator, which requires a separate device to authenticate your account. Even with all this and discounts offered for doing so to games most people have not joined up yet. In order to help achieve a greater level of security, and hopefully we can help by spreading the news. As of yesterday (9th Dec 2015) Valve have implemented the following:
> Anyone losing items in a trade will need to have a Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator enabled on their account for at least 7 days and have trade confirmations turned on. Otherwise, items will be held by Steam for up to 3 days before delivery.
> If you’ve been friends for at least 1 year, items will be held by Steam for up to 1 day before delivery.
> Accounts with a Mobile Authenticator enabled for at least 7 days are no longer restricted from trading or using the Market when using a new device since trades on the new device will be protected by the Mobile Authenticator.
This means that anyone using the Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator to confirm trades is able to continue trading as always. Users who haven’t enabled it, or can’t, can still trade, but they’ll have to wait up to 3 days for the trade to go through. This gives both Steam and users the time to discover their accounts have been hacked and recover it before the hackers can steal their items.
So, basically sign-up get secure or be prepared to wait around a lot.