Valve introduces Steam Guard to fight account phishing and hijacking

What's Steam's "number one support issue" according to Valve's Gabe Newell? "Account phishing and hijacking," says the boss. In an effort to combat the theft of digital goods, Valve has announced Steam Guard, a new service that allows users to restrict account management to a specific Intel-powered PC.

Using Intel Identity Protection Technology (IPT), a hardware-based feature available in second generation Intel Core processors, Steam Guard users will be notified whenever a different PC attempts to log into or modify their account settings. This should give Steam users "the account security they need as they purchase more and more digital goods," said the filthy rich Newell.

Because Steam Guard is hardware-reliant, the service will not be available to all Steam users. Still, Valve's Doug Lombardi expects "to see widespread adoption of hardware-based security like Intel IPT by other service providers" in the future. "If as a customer you are buying movies, music, games, or digital goods, you want to know that they are more secure than your physical goods."
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March 3, 2011 -- Valve announced today a new Steam and Steamworks feature called Steam Guard, which gives users greatly increased account security.

Steam Guard allows users to link management of their account to a specific PC. Attempts to modify or change account settings by any other PC won't be possible without the user's approval.

Steam Guard will take advantage of upcoming Intel® Identity Protection Technology (Intel® IPT), an encrypted, hardware-based feature available with the new 2nd Generation Intel® CoreT and Intel® CoreT vProT processors. IPT generates a new numerical password every 30 seconds, integrating into the processor functionality that previously required a separate card or key fob.

Users will also be notified if any PCs other than those authorized by them attempt to log into or modify their account settings.

Steam Guard is available to third parties to incorporate into their own applications through Steamworks.

"Account phishing and hijacking are our #1 support issues," said Gabe Newell, President of Valve. "With Intel's IPT and Steam Guard, we've taken a big step towards giving customers the account security they need as they purchase more and more digital goods."

"We expect to see widespread adoption of hardware-based security like Intel IPT by other service providers," said Doug Lombardi, Valve's Vice President of Marketing. "If as a customer you are buying movies, music, games, or digital goods, you want to know that they are more secure than your physical goods."

"With over 30 million accounts worldwide, Steam is an ideal platform for Intel IPT," said George Thangadurai, General Manager of PC Client Services at Intel. "Those running Steam are investing in a robust digital collection of PC games. By adding hardware-based protection to these investments, we hope to bolster the amazing success of platforms such as Steam."

For more information, please visit www.steamgames.com

This article was originally published on Joystiq.