As the host to games including Skyrim, Modern Warfare 3, and LA Noire as well as an extensive library of free and independent games, Steam is a gaming service with a massive pool of users, who experienced a breach in trust with Steam and its owner/operator, Valve when a 2011 hack put user data in compromise. This article will take a look at how this gaming giant was hacked along with the steps it took to resolve user mistrust and lost information.
A forum-based hack
Initially, the hack was indicated by a breach of discussion forums, which then facilitated the hack of a database containing the information of up to 35 million Steam users. Hackers used login details from the forums to access the database, which not only contained user IDs but also encrypted credit card numbers.
Lost consumer trust
Because of the company’s delay in announcing the data breach and a substantial loss in uptime for discussion forums—which were initially taken offline with no details of the hack—consumers had their trust in Valve shaken. Still, the company was able to bounce back, likely due to upgrades in password and encryption coding that have facilitated safer and more secure gameplay for millions around the world.
Many large companies have experienced a hack similar to that of Valve, which served as a wakeup call to improve online security and warn users of the risks involved with online transactions. By urging users to change their passwords and monitor credit card information while making security improvements in the service’s code, Valve was able to recuperate successfully following this breach.