Latest in Gaming

Image credit:

Steam's item trading system is convoluted to protect you

With 77,000 accounts compromised each month, security is paramount

Steam's community market may have started as a system for buying and selling silly hats in Team Fortress 2, but it's evolved over the years. These days, its an active economy and item trading system with heavy account security and complicated transaction restrictions. It has to be, Valve says. When it comes to hacking, "all Steam accounts are now targets."

It's the burden of a thriving community economy, the company explained in a recent statement. Steam items and trading cards can be sold for real cash, and these rewards (which are doled out for participating in events or buying and playing games on the service) have become so prolific, that virtually every account is a target worth hijacking. "What used to be a handful of hackers is now a highly effective, organized network in the business of stealing and selling items," the company said. "We see around 77,000 accounts hijacked and pillaged each month."

This threat has forced Valve to invest in two-factor and mobile authentication for Steam accounts and, for users without these security features enabled, frustrating restrictions on trades and market transactions. New item purchases can't be traded for up to 7 days, for instance, and users without authentication have to wait an additional three days before traded items are delivered. Users with Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator can avoid some of these restrictions, but ultimately the entire processes is slowed down in an effort to make account hijacking more difficult for hackers.

Valve published a lengthy statement on its website explaining that while it's just as frustrated as the community, the extra security measures are necessary. "Any time we put security steps in between user actions and their desired results, we're making it more difficult to use our products," the statement reads. "Unfortunately, this is one of those times where we feel like we're forced to insert a step or shut it all down." Check out the full post for yourself at the source link below

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext filevr