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Steam LogoDigital game distribution leader Valve just announced there has been a security breach within its Steam database. In a message sent to Steam users, Valve co-founder and managing director Gabe Newell said someone managed to gain access to not only the Steam forums, but to the database containing user information.

Newell adds that the passwords were hashed and salted, and credit card information is encrypted. Currently, there is no sign of data being stolen, but he urges users to keep a close eye on their statements and credit card activity as the company continues to investigate.

Here is the official statement from Valve:

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.

This is not the first time a gaming service has been targeted in such a breach. Earlier this year, Sony’s online services were hit and shut down in April and remained down partway through the month of May. Back in October, Microsoft’s Xbox LIVE service also suffered an attack that forced Microsoft to put a freeze on some accounts.

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VentureBeat has contacted Valve for further comment and we will update as information becomes available.

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