Valve reveals 77,000 Steam accounts hijacked monthly

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For some, Steam is the Wild West, and many scammers target and hijack accounts.

Steam has been a boon to most gamers, allowing them to purchase digital titles while often enjoying insanely inexpensive Steam sales, but the service definitely has its dark side. For some, Steam is the Wild West, and many scammers target and hijack accounts.

Over the years, Valve has instituted policy after policy to police it, such as enforcing wait times on gifts and Trading Cards. Users have begun to chafe under the restrictions, forcing the studio to give them some cold, hard, and often frightening facts.

In a new blog post, Valve stated "Account theft has been around since Steam began, but with the introduction of Steam Trading, the problem has increased twenty-fold as the number one complaint from our users. Having your account stolen, and your items traded away, is a terrible experience, and we hated that it was becoming more common for our customers."

Basically, players would log on to find all of their digital goodies were cleaned out, sold to unsuspecting users. While it was easy to identify when an account had been hijacked, it was tricky to restore everything because they didn't want to penalize the unsuspecting user who purchased items in good faith.

These aren't "newbs" who are getting ripped off, either. "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," the blog revealed.

To combat this, Valve has introduced a new mobile app, the Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator, which the studio calls a "two-factor authentication". However, most users don't utilize the app, because of what Valve says is a lack of belief that hackers would think their accounts were worth hijacking. Therefore, the week-long wait period of item trading for people without the app has been instituted to frustrate thievery, since scammers rely on speed to sell all of a user's content as soon as possible.

According to Valve: 

    • 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.

Let us know if you've ever been hijacked or are currently using the Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator.

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