Steam accounts are falling victim to rampant hijacking. In response, Valve has decided to implement some much-needed safeguards to the process.
77,000 Steam accounts fall prey to hackers every month, according to a recent news update posted by Valve Corporation. Thousands upon thousands of users are having their accounts cleaned of every trade-able item in their inventories, and it’s finally become enough of an issue that Valve is stepping in to try and do some damage control.
On a daily basis, untold amounts of valuable virtual items exchange hands. It might be a five-cent hat you acquired in Team Fortress 2, or something a bit richer. Everything from collectible cards, to in-game items, to games themselves are up for grabs. Hackers find ways to breach a user’s account via their e-mail or other means and then use the Steam Trading functionality to quickly empty the account of valuables.
Valve has previously provided an additional layer of security by offering a two-factor authentication process. Much like Battle.net and others, the process texts you a one-time use code when you want to log in, keeping anyone without access to your phone from touching your account. It hasn’t been a universal success, because it adds a layer of delay and inconvenience to something that many people do several times a day. That’s not even considering people who have to pay for said texts.
The new policy being implemented wisely creates a three-day buffer between the intiation of a trade and its completion. Valve acts as a sort of escrow service, playing the digital middle-man to ensure that accounts cannot be summarily looted the moment they are breached. You’ll only be able to bypass that hold by either utilizing the smart phone authentication process or by having known the other trading party for at least a year.
It’s an intelligent solution to a pretty dire situation, but it’s almost ludicrous how much time it’s taken to implement such a simple safety measure. While many will complain at the added steps to the process, about 77,000 people will probably be grateful for it next month.
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