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Steam hacking details emerge

Last year, hackers broke into an internal database of Steam, the digital distribution system, and potentially compromised users' personal information. Now, there is a possibility the intruders obtained a copy of a backup file containing information covering transactions between 2004 and 2008.

Earlier today, Gabe Newell, co-founder and managing director of Valve Corporation, the game development house that also operates Steam, released updated information that the company said has just come to light.

In a statement going out to all Steam users, Newell states there are no signs that its encrypted info has been compromised, but that backup file did contain user names (but not passwords), email addresses, encrypted billing addresses, and encrypted credit card information. Newell also repeated the advice given when the incident first went down: keep a mindful eye on credit card activity and statements.

He also recommended the use of Steam Guard, which is the client's built in extra layer of user authentication. The statement ends with:

We are still investigating and working with law enforcement authorities. Some state laws require a more formal notice of this incident so some of you will get that notice, but we wanted to update everyone with this new information now.

Hacking related headlines were constant throughout last year, especially in connection with gamers. In addition to Steam users, Sony's PlayStation customers had to deal with a massive blackout of online services, as they attempted to recover from the damage of a massive break in by a group identified as LulzSec.

More recently, hackers were able to obtain employee emails and passwords from Foxconn, the Taiwanese tech manufacturer that produces consumer electronic goods for numerous parties, notably Apple.

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Matthew Hawkins is an NYC-based game journalist who has also written for EGM, GameSetWatch, Gamasutra, Giant Robot, and numerous others. He also self-publishes his own game culture zine, is part of Attract Mode, and co-hosts The Fangamer Podcast. You can keep tabs on him via Twitter, or his personal home-base, FORT90.com.