Valve Unveils Hardware-Based Steam Security

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Valve Unveils Hardware-Based Steam Security

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Valve has announced a new hardware-based security system for Steam called Steam Guard, which will allow users to link their account management options to a single PC.

Making use of Intel's forthcoming Identity Protection Technology, Steam Guard will let users limit control of their Steam account to a single PC, meaning that even if their password is cracked, their accounts will remain secure. They'll also be notified if any unauthorized PC attempts to log into the account or modify settings.

Using a two-factor authentication built into some second-generation Intel Core CPUs, Intel IPT combines a standard user name and password with a six-digit "One-Time Password" that changes every 30 seconds to ensure maximum security. When Intel IPT is enabled, identity thieves will have to gain all three pieces of information in order to gain access to user accounts.

Doug Lombardi, Valve's vice president of marketing, expects to see the adoption of hardware-based security measures become increasingly common as the digital market for games and other media continues to grow. "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," he said. Valve head honcho Gabe Newell added that account phishing and hijacking are the company's "number-one support issue."

Steam Guard will be available to third-party developers to incorporate into their software via Steamworks. An announcement about which Intel-based PCs will be the first to take advantage of IPT will be made by OEM manufacturers on March 11; to learn more about Intel the technology, check out ipt.intel.com.

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This is a good idea although is this the same system what was talked about in terms of hardware based DRM? If so this could be a little more worrying...

So if my computer explodes, or I go traveling, can I unwire my Steam account?

As long as it's voluntarily, I won't mind. If it's not, it's going to be just like Treacherous Computing

This sounds like a good idea, provided there's a way to unwire your account from the hardware, which basically seems to me like the first thing they'd have thought of anyway. Hardware is much more difficult to hack than software, given that you actually need to have it physically in front of you to do so. So yeah, I welcome this, on the whole. As long as legitimate users aren't losing out then there's no real issue, right?

lacktheknack:
So if my computer explodes, or I go traveling, can I unwire my Steam account?

Yeah, what if we change computers or something? Or, like he said, travel?

Thats one of Steam's selling points, which is "take Steam with you wherever you go, and download your games anywhere!".

Seeing how I stay with AMD mainly because they are cheaper and do the same damn thing an Intel chip does, I'll be left out unless amd decides to do this also

This is strictly voluntary, right? Because if this is required, I'm gonna be furious.

It's a nice idea (assuming it's voluntary), but I probably won't use it. I like being able to access my Steam account and games on both my desktop and my laptop.

This actually sounds like a good idea.

Just have to wrench if it will be possible to change the setting out of Doug. If it can Valve has yet another thing to get me to support them. (Not in this years MM however, apart form Alien Swarm they havent released anything)

Kiefer13:
It's a nice idea (assuming it's voluntary), but I probably won't use it. I like being able to access my Steam account and games on both my desktop and my laptop.

You're obviously going to be able to undo it. The reports a little vague on the details of how it works anyway.

varulfic:
This is strictly voluntary, right? Because if this is required, I'm gonna be furious.

Seems most likely.

"Steam Guard will let users limit control of their Steam account to a single PC, "

Irridium:

lacktheknack:
So if my computer explodes, or I go traveling, can I unwire my Steam account?

Yeah, what if we change computers or something? Or, like he said, travel?

Thats one of Steam's selling points, which is "take Steam with you wherever you go, and download your games anywhere!".

Well, it IS optional.

Kiefer13:
It's a nice idea (assuming it's voluntary), but I probably won't use it. I like being able to access my Steam account and games on both my desktop and my laptop.

This.

I've got no problem with companies taking steps to protect themselves from pirates... but I'm getting seriously tired of them making MY life (as a legitimate customer) super difficult so that they can do it!

I've spend the last couple of weeks locked out of a bunch of games because GfWL has borked. Reinstalled, cleaned, patched, worked around, nothing's helped. And Microsoft's ever useful support team can only recommend that... wait for it.... I completely format my hard disk and reinstall everything (incl. Windows) from scratch! You're f'ing KIDDING!

So I've got very little patience for DRM type things in any form that lock legitimate customers out of their products while (and let's be honest here) doing virtually nothing to contain the pirates.

A pirated game should NEVER deliver a better user experience than a legitimate one!

While nice and I'm sure some folks will use it. I wouldn't. I like being able to sign onto another computer. I can use my steam account at my buddies house, and it's practically like a LAN party then. I am all for the option, so long as it remains just an option.

A better incentive would be to encourage people to have weekly rotating passwords. I think they would be better off designing an authenticator comparable to what corporations use, as well as Blizzard. Perhaps something that works with my android based phone. *wink wink*

But, I'll reiterate it. Keep it optional! Haha, 'nuff said.

Lawyer105:

I've got no problem with companies taking steps to protect themselves from pirates... but I'm getting seriously tired of them making MY life (as a legitimate customer) super difficult so that they can do it!

I've spend the last couple of weeks locked out of a bunch of games because GfWL has borked. Reinstalled, cleaned, patched, worked around, nothing's helped. And Microsoft's ever useful support team can only recommend that... wait for it.... I completely format my hard disk and reinstall everything (incl. Windows) from scratch! You're f'ing KIDDING!

So I've got very little patience for DRM type things in any form that lock legitimate customers out of their products while (and let's be honest here) doing virtually nothing to contain the pirates.

A pirated game should NEVER deliver a better user experience than a legitimate one!

This would in no way prevent piracy. I could help prevent identity theft(subjectively). But, you can't really access too much about your personal identity from your Steam account, I believe. I could be wrong though. Your credit card number, even if it's stored can't be viewed on your Steam account. Your name and address are basically a matter of public record. It's stupid to put your phone number anywhere online. The only thing they could do is lock you out of your own Steam account really, if they decide to change the password. Then I'm sure a few emails and a phone call could clear that up. Once again, it would benefit from some kind of authenticator.

I also agree 100% with your final statement, anything that inhibits a legal user from using the program they paid for, should be a big fat no no to any company. One day these companies will understand I hope.

varulfic:
This is strictly voluntary, right? Because if this is required, I'm gonna be furious.

Of course it's voluntary, as the function is limited to only a small set of CPUs for now.

Lawyer105:

Kiefer13:
It's a nice idea (assuming it's voluntary), but I probably won't use it. I like being able to access my Steam account and games on both my desktop and my laptop.

This.

I've got no problem with companies taking steps to protect themselves from pirates... but I'm getting seriously tired of them making MY life (as a legitimate customer) super difficult so that they can do it!

I've spend the last couple of weeks locked out of a bunch of games because GfWL has borked. Reinstalled, cleaned, patched, worked around, nothing's helped. And Microsoft's ever useful support team can only recommend that... wait for it.... I completely format my hard disk and reinstall everything (incl. Windows) from scratch! You're f'ing KIDDING!

So I've got very little patience for DRM type things in any form that lock legitimate customers out of their products while (and let's be honest here) doing virtually nothing to contain the pirates.

A pirated game should NEVER deliver a better user experience than a legitimate one!

Wait, what?

This is all about YOUR games and YOUR account and YOU not being fucked over. They're not covering themselves.

Finally! I'm so fucking happy because of this!

Tied to CPU? That's stupid. Why not give us a physical authenticator like Blizzard/Paypal, or a digital one for like iPhone/Android or something.

Eri:
Tied to CPU? That's stupid. Why not give us a physical authenticator like Blizzard/Paypal, or a digital one for like iPhone/Android or something.

Atleast it's something. My email got hacked last summer and if I had lost my steam account I would have gone crazy.

Argh double post*

Argh double post*

Irridium:

lacktheknack:
So if my computer explodes, or I go traveling, can I unwire my Steam account?

Yeah, what if we change computers or something? Or, like he said, travel?

Thats one of Steam's selling points, which is "take Steam with you wherever you go, and download your games anywhere!".

My question is:

Say I go to my friends' houses a lot to play videog games. If I'm constantly switching which computer my steam account is hooked up to, will it look like I've cracked the Hard-ware to steam? Will they shut it down?

This sounds like a good way to keep account stealers at bay. I mean literally steam is full of people that try to steal your password for games. If they can't access the account without being in the house, then they wont bother now will they?

Tubez:
Argh dubbel post -.-

Double post! Oh my god, what does it mean!!

Haha, sorry. I missed out on all that double rainbow stuff, and I saw an opening. It's out of my system now, never again.

Woodsey:

Lawyer105:
Snip

Wait, what?

This is all about YOUR games and YOUR account and YOU not being fucked over. They're not covering themselves.

Ummm... no. That's what they tell you. But if your hard disk dies or your motherboard burns out, hell, if you do some upgrading... how easy is it going to be to persuade the Steam system that this isn't a different computer trying to access your account, hmm?

I'd like to be able to say I trust Valve enough that I could believe they'd do this right. But hardware verification is even dodgier than software / online authentication, so I don't.

So, this just seems like a limited version of the services already offered by Blizzard/Paypal?

Seriously, Valve. Just copy the Blizzard authenticator and release iOS/Android apps for it. No pesky hardware requirements, no one-computer-only requirement, and it's just as secure.

Irridium:

lacktheknack:
So if my computer explodes, or I go traveling, can I unwire my Steam account?

Yeah, what if we change computers or something? Or, like he said, travel?

That's one of Steam's selling points, which is "take Steam with you wherever you go, and download your games anywhere!".

I would think that would of been the first thing they thought of and designed, after all, you don't design a lock for a door without first designing a way to unlock it.

I like this idea, and honestly I would love to see it implemented with a few MMO's too, that way people who play WoW or other games wouldn't have to worry about changing their password every week, and for a system that lets you buy games and whatnot that can be carried over across computers, this seems like a good way to increase your security should you enable it.

But I also wonder if I would be able to have multiple computers signed, I know I have L4D2 on my PC, but I also have steam on my laptop, if I enable this would I still be able to play it on the other computer I didn't get signed?

If my computer explodes or is stolen, I'm extra fucked?

Baresark:

Tubez:
Argh dubbel post -.-

Double post! Oh my god, what does it mean!!

Haha, sorry. I missed out on all that double rainbow stuff, and I saw an opening. It's out of my system now, never again.

Din jävla idiot. I'm busy with something else so excuse me that my english isnt fucking perfect.

varulfic:
This is strictly voluntary, right? Because if this is required, I'm gonna be furious.

Agreed. And what happens if you fry the CPU or something? Assuming they let you unwire the account you'd have to wait for Stream Support to address the ticket to do so, and anyone whose gone through using the Steam support tickets can tell you it takes an arduous amount of time to get anything from Steam Support.

I dont know.. Is it really necessary? Is account theft -that- common on Steam? Or is is just some sort of backhanded drm or whatever that will only get in the way of legitimate users anyway? (like, changing/upgrading your hardware)

Will it allow me to play all my games in offline mode if i wish to? After all is "locked" on my PC right? IIRC my Sword of the Stars game doesnt want to work in offline mode, and its really irritating.

Pirates will find a workaround in less than a week regardless...
My guess is that they just dont want you to install your Steam game on a gaming comuter you have at home, then set it offline forever. So you "must" buy more copies of games you already own.
It is why i have stong doubts about such a system.

Lawyer105:

Woodsey:

Lawyer105:
Snip

Wait, what?

This is all about YOUR games and YOUR account and YOU not being fucked over. They're not covering themselves.

Ummm... no. That's what they tell you. But if your hard disk dies or your motherboard burns out, hell, if you do some upgrading... how easy is it going to be to persuade the Steam system that this isn't a different computer trying to access your account, hmm?

I'd like to be able to say I trust Valve enough that I could believe they'd do this right. But hardware verification is even dodgier than software / online authentication, so I don't.

Oh Christ, you're one of those people - everything's secretly a cock slap.

Pray tell, what would Valve gain by locking you out of their store that earns them millions, and all your games, and costing them lots of Steam users?

The system isn't even fully detailed in this report - and its pretty obvious that when they came up with the idea, they had enough brain power to work out that on PCs, people change hardware.

And its voluntary anyway.

Irridium:

lacktheknack:
So if my computer explodes, or I go traveling, can I unwire my Steam account?

Yeah, what if we change computers or something? Or, like he said, travel?

Thats one of Steam's selling points, which is "take Steam with you wherever you go, and download your games anywhere!".

One assumes that if you can provide proof of identity beyond an account password that they would do so.

Good luck when you upgrade the PC and forget to unlock the security (or someone steals the password just as you do).

Either way, it will be cracked within a few days. And then it will be used as means of games copy-protection, which will again be cracked within a few days (the first one; hours for the next)

Valve flavored Trusted computing?
Well as long as this stays optional I have no issues with it.

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