Steam has been hacked

I found the forums down the other day when trying to find and answer I had with one of the games I have from Steam. I wasn’t sure what the whole deal was and thought they might be upgrading their system since software updates can sometimes require websites to be taken down. Today when checking up on the current situation I was greeted with a new message this one more than just “We are down” but that “our forum and subsequently possible database has  been hacked. Account info and Credit card info may have been exposed.”

Well shit. This is some bad news for a top PC game distribution platform.

Here’s their official statement from the current forum splash page:

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.

Gabe.

That is quite a lot of issues. I’m sure they’ll be sorted out but if you have  a steam  forum or steam account I highly suggest changing your passwords when you can. Note: I tried earlier today to do just that but is seems that steam isn’t able to do that right now. Will try later.

Assassins and Portals

I decided to get Assassin’s Creed 2 and boy am I not disappointed. I played the game a little over the weekend and it was a blast. A combination of puzzles, action, and mystery just makes this game one of the best I’ve played in a while.

The story is follows events that occurred in the first Assassin’s Creed but even without playing it (like me) there are no problems.  It’s set in 1480s Italy with a nice supporting cast of notable people like Leonardo de Vinci and Lorenzo de Medici. The last one made me laugh as my job has a study abroad program at the school named after him.

I also purchased The Orange Box too as I got addicted to the Portal demo. I don’t think there’s a person alive that could fault me for that.

I have decided though that I wont be buying anymore games (all formats) until I have a job on the mainland. So go willpower.

In other news thesis chapter 2 got shredded by my editor and adviser so it’s in the middle of a huge overhaul which has messed up my planned timeline but I think I’ll be able to get it together this week and push chapters 2 and 3 out this week.

STEAMing with excitement

After battling with Steam for over a day with games freezing on the splash screen I finally go it to work. I did two things actually. I uninstalled steam completely and reinstalled it but I also uninstalled all the Microsoft C++ programs I had installed (had both 2005 and 2008 versions). After that it worked great. Went through demos of Bioshock and Batman Arkham Asylum last night just to make sure things were fine. After that I was going through games and tried putting together a list of games that I wanted so I wouldn’t buy on impulse.

I feel comfortable with going with one of three games. Assassin’s Creed II, comes out on the 9th. The graphics look great and I’ve heard good things about the series. Also if I were to pre-order it I would get three extra maps. Very tempting though the $60 price tag is a little scary. I understand that that is the new standard price for new games but still, ouch. The second is Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Sith Edition. I had a chance to test it out at a friends place around when it came out for consoles but haven’t seen much since. I like the style of the game and I’m tempted by that but the reviews for it have been rather low. It’s hard to weed through it though as I can’t tell whether people are upset with the port having nothing new or if it sucks on the PC. The last is Prototype, a pretty cool looking game from what I’ve seen. High paced action with a story to boot.

I am really interested by Steam and how the PC gaming work is getting better. While there have been good PC games for a while now, it was often a different image than what was then popular on console system. With the boost in PC gaming I feel less of a desire for wanting a next-gen system as I can buy the game without having to buy a system to play it on. It makes having paid for high-end parts worth the upfront cost.

Now I’m sure people around me will be first to point out that why am I thinking about playing a game when I have my thesis to be more concerned about!!!! Well to be frank, I need time to cool down and relax. Video games do that well. Especially action games in relieving stress. Also Video games count in my area of research so no complaining! HAHA

Now I must sit down and consider my options….

Fresh and inquisitive

So yesterday my computer finally told me that I needed to upgrade. Before I had been running Windows 7 RC with much joy. Yet as of March first though Win7 RC would regularly reboot as its way of saying “Upgrade Me!!!!

I was slightly tentative to do so though. As a student money is usually tight so I couldn’t see myself spending $300+ for the OS. I know there were student deals with other versions of the OS but I prefer the Ultimate version as it gives me the most flexibility in my opinion. Luckily as I was wondering my schools bookstore I found it. Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit for $90. I jumped for joy, yet was worried as it was the Upgrade version. Having read that you couldn’t go upgrade from RC to Full I scoured the web for answers.  I new Lifehacker linked to how editing a file in the disk would make it possible but that wasn’t appealing. Then I found a nice work around.

So I was able to upgrade successfully. *FFVII Victory tune*

I was then presented with something I had not truly expected, that being, I had a fresh install meaning I was free of much of the bloat I had before.  In the process of which I installed steam.

I had installed Steam before but it was buggy (I think it was Win7 Beta’s fault not Steam’s) but I thought I’d give it a go. I was impressed by the lineup. I expected just a bunch of indie games but it seems that most mainstream games are there too. I was really pumped as in between writing, school, work, and sleep I was feeling the itch to game a little. The problem was that I lacked one of the present generation systems and a TV.

With Steam though I’ve found a lot of the games available.

But now I feel myself pausing again. Mainly being I don’t know how the PC versions fair against their console cousins. I’ve read reviews on such ports like Force Unleashed but I can’t tell that if there really is a problem with the PC version of if it’s just a bunch of console fanboys bitching.

I hope I’ll be able to weed out the crap and get solid answers cause I feel this is a great alternative.

Oh and my system feels so much faster it’s great.

Gamers Help Haiti

Gamers, Let’s band together and see how much we can raise to help the people of Haiti.

Donate $20 and get over a thousand dollars worth of RPG titles. After you make the donation, within one business day the items will be added to your order. Then within two business days after that we’ll email you letting you know you can come download them — the response has been so overwhelming that we have to control the rate at which we’re allowing downloads.

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I’m not usually one for donations and charity but I thought this was good as supporting the Doctors without Boarders and you get a butt load of gaming gear.