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Screenshots posted by MaddoxX reveal the extent of the breach
Cafe owners are in trouble, and users who made online purchases may be next

Valve's STEAM content distribution system has been the target of no small share of bad press since it was created, with complaints ranging from apathetic customer service to the inability to play legitimately purchased games online. Some users have had their accounts locked, deleted, or hijacked - but a hacker known only as "MaddoxX" has just opened a rather sizeable can of worms.

According to a posting made on an anti-STEAM website, MaddoxX has bypassed Valve's security system and accessed a significant chunk of data, including:
  • Screenshots of internal Valve web pages
  • A portion of Valve's Cafe directory
  • Error logs
  • Credit card information of customers
  • Financial information on Valve
While only the Cafe owners appear to be in immediate danger, MaddoxX claims to "have shell access everywhere," and has posted a list of login details for accounts on the Valve servers.  In addition, Maddox also reveals that private certificates for "People with a little bit of (sic) experience ... create their own 'fake' but working cafe / certificate."

It's not currently known how far-reaching the credit card breach is, but STEAM users who have purchased products online for electronic delivery would do well to keep an eye on their credit card statements for the next while, especially if MaddoxX makes good on a promise to release a "spreadsheet."

STEAM cafe owners worldwide are more than a little upset with the information already leaked. MaddoxX has posted emails received from cafe owners and operators:
Believe me, nobody wants to 'stick it to Valve' more than those currently in the cafe program. We're rubbing pennies together trying to make it from month to month, while Valve is making millions off of us ... All I ask is that you make some effort to edit cafe numerical details from any future release.

Please don't release the CC information, for the sake of the centers who are less informed.
MaddoxX does make one thing quite clear in his electronic manifesto:
If you want me to remove these files you can e-mail me at (address removed) and I prefer you come with something good unless you want me to expose ALL of the customers their information.
It seems that Valve is being held for ransom. If this is true, Valve may be in trouble, as California Senate Bill 1386 requires that credit card holders be informed of any breach of their information, and MaddoxX already knows exactly how much money they have available.

Update 04/19/2007: Doug Lombardi, director of marketing at Valve, contacted DailyTech with the following statement:
There has been no security breach of Steam. The alleged hacker gained access to a third-party site that Valve uses to manage the commercial partners in its Cyber Café program. This Cyber Café billing system is not connected to Steam. We are working with law enforcement agencies on this matter, and encourage anyone with more information to e-mail us at Catch_A_Thief@valvesoftware.com.


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RE: Yup, I knew it.
By Justin Case on 4/19/2007 2:51:13 PM , Rating: 2
Your antivirus is unlikely to eat more than 0.1% of your CPU cycles, and Steam is perfectly dormant while games are running (it won't even download other games' updates, which is a bit annoying because I have bandwidth to spare). I don't know what your "wireless utility" is, but my guess is it won't make much difference to your system's speed, either. Windows services like PnP (that constantly checks for new USB devices, etc.) will eat a *lot* more CPU cycles (but probably still not enough to be relevant, especially if you have a dual-core or dual-CPU system).

And you don't need to have an internet connection to play HL2. Not every time, at least. On my system I don't remember HL2 ever complaining that my net connection was down (and I've played it offline lots of times). It probably needs to "phone home" once every few days, but not every time. And I got it through Steam, so it's not checking for the original CD, either.

Regarding the games you mentioned: the main difference between HL2 and Homeworld is that HL2 is very good and Homeworld is crap. Okay, HW:Cataclysm was terrific, but Homeworld 2 was even crappier than the first one. :-)

As to Oblivion, well, I am a RPG fan, I did buy it (special edition, too), and IMO it wasn't worth the money or the wait. It's a hack'n'slash game with a few bad, completely disconnected stories sprinkled on top, and possibly the most disappointing AI ever (partly due to all the pre-release hyping). The game feels less interactive than Ultima 7, which is 15 years old, and has less atmosphere than Morrowind (its predecessor). It does have nice graphics and generally fun combat, but I was expecting a RPG (meaning a believable, consistent, immersive "world simulator"), not a 3D version of Diablo. It was clearly designed for younger console gamers, not "old school" RPG fans. If only Valve would reunite the Origin / Looking Glass team and produce a real, polished, consistent RPG, based on Source... I can dream, can't I? :-)


RE: Yup, I knew it.
By SquidianLoveGod on 4/21/2007 11:11:49 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Your antivirus is unlikely to eat more than 0.1% of your CPU cycles


That depends on the virus scanner in question.
Kaspersky stops scanning etc, if your busy playing a game etc.

quote:
the main difference between HL2 and Homeworld is that HL2 is very good and Homeworld is crap. Okay, HW:Cataclysm was terrific, but Homeworld 2 was even crappier than the first one. :-)


I disagree, there are thousands of Homeworld players around, Making your point that the game is crap, negated, I personally think Half Life 2 is crap, And StarCraft is the best thing going since slice cheese. Yet there are alot of Half Life 2/Source/CS players around. (Not as many as StarCraft and Brood wars though :P the Battle.net community is huge, and its a national korean sport!).

quote:
As to Oblivion, well, I am a RPG fan, I did buy it (special edition, too), and IMO it wasn't worth the money or the wait. It's a hack'n'slash game with a few bad, completely disconnected stories sprinkled on top, and possibly the most disappointing AI ever (partly due to all the pre-release hyping). The game feels less interactive than Ultima 7, which is 15 years old, and has less atmosphere than Morrowind (its predecessor). It does have nice graphics and generally fun combat, but I was expecting a RPG (meaning a believable, consistent, immersive "world simulator"), not a 3D version of Diablo. It was clearly designed for younger console gamers, not "old school" RPG fans. If only Valve would reunite the Origin / Looking Glass team and produce a real, polished, consistent RPG, based on Source... I can dream, can't I? :-)


Again I disagree, Oblivion is very much like its predecessor, except it takes the best of that game and improves on it, Graphics, AI, Quests, Immersion etc.
Try doing the Arena quest, Join a mages guild follow the quests etc and GET yourself involved in the game, its not a game that will make you get off your ass and make it immersive, thats something thats left up to the player, For Instance you are given the Kavatch quest to close down the oblivion gate, Instead I decided to goto Bruma and do the mages guild recommendation quests, travelled from town to town, Killed a few vampires, became rather powerful, finished the arena, so I decided to turn evil and kill everything I could.

Oblivion has a main story line, yet allot of other story lines, That you could continue doing, and forget about the main quest. And personally, I enjoy walking through a town and hear people chatter, etc. And it does have immersion on a higher level than morrowing 3. -If you want to prove me wrong, point something out, and make my day ;)
And comparing the morrowind series against the Diablo series shows, you haven't played or completed any of those games. -.-

(Note I have complete both morrowind 3 and Oblivion)


RE: Yup, I knew it.
By Justin Case on 4/22/2007 10:26:33 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, I have completed those and just about every other CRPG ever made (well, since 1987, at least). In other words, I've been playing these things (and, for a short while, developing them) since the time when you were, I suspect, a mere glint in you father's eye.

Oblivion is a hack'n'slash console game made for 9 year olds with Xboxes. It requires about 3 working neurons, and two of those die after a week from terminal boredom. Add some fan-made mods (ex., OOO) and that grows to maybe a month, but it still feels disjointed. Morrowind's world might have been dead, but it had atmosphere and consistency (BTW, there is no such thing as "Morrowind 3", let alone "Morrowing 3" - now that you've completed it, you might want to read the name on the box). Morrowind wasn't great (it was barely good) but it held promise. Which makes Oblivion even more disappointing.

Ultima 7 is probably the best CRPG ever made, but I suspect you've never played it (or System Shock, for that matter).

The differences in style between these games is not accidental; they are a result of the way each of them was planned, developed and playtested. Good RPGs need a strong driving vision and tons of playtesting by very different people. Oblivion was designed for consoles (and console players - specifically the ones that need a little arrow to guide them through the entire game), its "missions" were developed by separate teams (and put together at the end), and it was playtested only by its developers. Calling Oblivion a RPG is like calling Doom an intellectual stretegy simulator.

And no, Kaspersky AV does not "stop scanning if your [sic] busy playing a game". It will continue to work as always: scanning every file that is accessed by running processes. All real-time file protection scanners work that way, and they need almost no CPU cycles.


RE: Yup, I knew it.
By SquidianLoveGod on 5/3/2007 10:00:14 PM , Rating: 2
Actually I never played System Shock, I did play System Shock 2, And Morrowind 3 is what they call the Elder scrolls 3, so Morrowind 3 is good enough me.
And to me, I think Oblivion is far better than Morrowind 3 will ever be.
And I have been around computers for a few ages, I watched the rise and fall of the great 3Dfx, The introduction of the sound blaster, and the dawn of the Commodore 64, which was enjoyable as I could MAKE my own games in BASIC (Beginners all purpose symbolic instruction code).

"And no, Kaspersky AV does not "stop scanning if your [sic] busy playing a game". It will continue to work as always: scanning every file that is accessed by running processes. All real-time file protection scanners work that way, and they need almost no CPU cycles."
Yes it does, Have a look at it again and find the setting which allows the program to pause what it is doing when CPU cycles are being used.

"Ultima 7 is probably the best CRPG ever made"
And... Your full of shit.
Well in my opinion.
Other people may agree or disagree.

Also... Have you had your pap-smear? Your kinda' kranky madam'.


"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il











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