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Popular gaming platform Steam just went down after users reported a major security bug

A bicyclist rides through steam vents along 17th Street in Northwest Washington, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
What’s happening to Steam?
By Alice Truong

Deputy editor

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Updated Dec. 25, 2015, 3:20pm PT: Steam’s site came back online around 3:15pm Pacific Time. Some users report that they are no longer able to see other people’s account details.

Updated Dec. 26, 2015, 1:17am PT: Doug Lombarti, Valve’s vice president of marketing, told Quartz via email that Steam is back running after the company fixed a caching problem. “We believe no unauthorized actions were allowed on accounts beyond the viewing of cached page information and no additional action is required by users,” he said.

A security bug on the gaming platform Steam allowed users to view other people’s account information, including names, mailing addresses, email addresses, and the last digits of their credit card numbers.

On Christmas Day, three days into Steam’s ongoing winter sale, users took to gaming forum NeogafReddit, and Twitter to report the issue beginning around 12:30pm Pacific Time. Steam’s website was unavailable about an hour after the first reports surfaced, though it remains unclear if the issues are related. Quartz has reached out to Valve Software, the company that makes Steam, for comment.

Valve might have taken down the site as a response to users’ reports of the bug. It could have also been overwhelmed with an influx of users logging in to check their accounts.

Before Steam went down, some users reported seeing the Russian-language version of the site after logging in, leading to speculations that the platform might have been hacked. It’s also possible that a caching issue could be responsible for displaying other users’ account information.

The Twitter account for Steam Database, which runs a gaming forum that’s not affiliated with Valve, warned users not to visit the store because of a caching problem that affects stored data.

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