Top PC games developer Valve has joined Sony in being subject to a catastrophic database hack, with the security of customer credit card details and personal information stored on their Steam platform completely compromised.
The official admission seems to have learned something from the lack of candidness which cost Sony so dearly:
Dear Steam Users and Steam Forum Users:
Our Steam forums were defaced on the evening of Sunday, November 6. We began investigating and found that the intrusion goes beyond the Steam forums.
We learned that intruders obtained access to a Steam database in addition to the forums. This database contained information including user names, hashed and salted passwords, game purchases, email addresses, billing addresses and encrypted credit card information. We do not have evidence that encrypted credit card numbers or personally identifying information were taken by the intruders, or that the protection on credit card numbers or passwords was cracked. We are still investigating.
We don’t have evidence of credit card misuse at this time. Nonetheless you should watch your credit card activity and statements closely.
While we only know of a few forum accounts that have been compromised, all forum users will be required to change their passwords the next time they login. If you have used your Steam forum password on other accounts you should change those passwords as well.
We do not know of any compromised Steam accounts, so we are not planning to force a change of Steam account passwords (which are separate from forum passwords). However, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to change that as well, especially if it is the same as your Steam forum account password.
We will reopen the forums as soon as we can.
I am truly sorry this happened, and I apologize for the inconvenience.
Their inability to state with any certainty what was taken and the potential scope of the hack seem likely to further cement the reputation of data hoarding companies as being incapable of securely storing the personal and financial data they are so keen to gather – although it is not yet clear whether consumers really care about this enough to abandon such services, or have any choice in the matter.
The timing is likely to be particularly menacing to customer confidence in Steam, as November sees variety of high profile PC releases – which more security conscious gamers will likely see the merit in purchasing offline.