Christmas is usually a very busy time for Valve because of the major sales that the company has a habit of running on the Steam digital distribution system, and this year the company had to deal with a set of problems linked to the service and with the way the user base perceived them as an attack that had the potential to affect their personal data.
In a new official site article, the studio delivers more information about what happened on December 25, saying that between 11:50 and 13:20 Pacific Standard Time store page requests for around 34,000 users, containing personal information, were seen by others.
Valve admits, “The content of these requests varied by page, but some pages included a Steam user’s billing address, the last four digits of their Steam Guard phone number, their purchase history, the last two digits of their credit card number, and/or their email address. These cached requests did not include full credit card numbers, user passwords, or enough data to allow logging in as or completing a transaction as another user.”
The company also delivers an apology to all those affected by the Christmas problem.
Despite the fact that some sensitive information was shared with others, the company makes it clear that users have to take no further action because the Steam system does not allow for it.
This means that even if there are plans to work with a third-party company and contact those affected once they have been identified, no action on their part is required to make sure that the accounts are safe.
Valve also explains that the problem was created because of a DDoS attack that combined with increased Winter Sale traffic to affect the caching of pages and forced the company to take down the store and deal with the problem.
The company makes it clear that such attacks have not managed to break its security and are routinely dealt with.
Steam continues to dominate PC digital distribution
Valve needs to maintain its services as secure as possible to keep it in the lead on the PC and to continue offering players a wide variety of video games and some spectacular price cuts on special occasions.
The Winter Sale is running at the moment, with more than 10,000 video games offered at reduced prices each day and a set of special trading cards that gamers can earn and use to tweak their profile.
In late 2015 Valve also introduced the Steam machines, created in collaboration with a wide variety of partners, and the special controller, which offers plenty of new options for PC gamers who want to stay away from their monitors or share a couch with friends.
In 2016, the company is planning to also enter the virtual reality space with Vive, which is created in partnership with HTC and does not yet have an official launch date or an attached price.
The device was expected to arrive before the end of 2015, but Valve decided to delay it because of a major tech-related breakthrough that’s supposed to improve the user experience once the headset is commercially available.