Account theft is one of the most reported problems on Steam. Since accounts are worth real life money and have items worth hundreds and thousands of dollars, a sophisticated network of hackers have started to target accounts all over the network.
From new users to professional eSports players, no one is safe. The problem got worse since the introduction of Steam Trading. As soon as an account is compromised, the items would be quickly cleaned out. These items are traded over and over until they reach an innocent user.
Steam did the right thing by not taking the item back from the user who bought it, but instead created a copy for the compromised account. In order to help and improve security, Steam created a Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator, which asks you to use your smartphone to prove your identity.
Two-factor authorization is the use of a separate device to confirm your identity. The security of this system is based on moving that step from your PC to a device a hacker can’t access, such as your smartphone. PCs can be easily compromised, therefore a PC-based authenticator would not provide better security than a password or email authentication.
Unfortunately, there is not much you can do to fight against people who hack accounts for a living. And there will always will be people who’ll never use the Steam Mobile Guard, or think they aren’t worthwhile targets.
So instead of taking extra precautions and protecting your accounts, Steam came up with an even better idea. Steam is trying to nerf the ability of hackers to profit from your accounts.
Here’s how Steam aims to achieve this.
- Anyone losing items in a trade will need to have a Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator enabled on their account for at least 7 days and have trade confirmations turned on. Otherwise, items will be held by Steam for up to 3 days before delivery.
- If you’ve been friends for at least 1 year, items will be held by Steam for up to 1 day before delivery.
- Accounts with a Mobile Authenticator enabled for at least 7 days are no longer restricted from trading or using the Market when using a new device since trades on the new device will be protected by the Mobile Authenticator.
For more details, you can visit Steam.