How to protect your Steam account
You might not know of all the security features the digital distribution service has to offer. Without a doubt, Steam has a plethora of great features you can use to better secure your account.
If you’re new to Steam, you might not know of all the security features the digital distribution service has to offer. Let’s take a look at the different security options available in Steam.
Steam Guard is the best method of securing your steam account, and one of the easiest ways to protect your library.
It uses a simple two-factor authentication (2FA) system, which is tied with either your email address or the Steam app. When you log into Steam on a new computer, it’ll ask you for the 2FA code. You’ll receive the code either via email or app, depending on your preference.
Steam Guard is so secure, the CEO of Valve, Gabe Newell, gave out his Steam login details at its release. Anyone could steal his entire Steam library—if they could crack the Steam Guard defending it. Fortunately, Steam Guard kept his account perfectly safe.
For more protection, The Steam Mobile Authenticator can be added as an additional requirement each time you log into your account.
Signing In to Third-Party Sites With Steam
Sometimes, a website will ask for your Steam login. Typically, this is performed by websites that scan your inventory or games list in order to provide you with a specific service.
When a legitimate website asks for your Steam account login, it’ll do so by using Steam’s official sign in method. This redirects you to Steam’s Community page where you can log in.
This method doesn’t show the third-party website your login details, so you don’t have to worry about being hacked. Once you’re logged in, Steam will tell the website about your inventory and games without revealing your private info.
If a website needs your Steam account information, look for this icon:
When you click this image, you’ll be redirected to the Steam Community website where you can safely log in.
Of course, anyone can copy this image and make it redirect to a fake Steam account login site. That’s why it’s important to double-check the URL and make sure it goes to https://steamcommunity.com/ with an HTTPS certificate. If you don’t see either of these, don’t enter your details onto the site!
Also, never enter your Steam account login details into a website that doesn’t use this official method. Any website worth logging into will use it, so don’t bother with any service that doesn’t.
General Security Recommendations
Select a Strong Password
A strong password is a necessary first step toward ensuring the security of your account. Your password should meet all of the minimum requirements listed below:
- Use at least 6 characters
- Use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters.
- Include at least one number within the password
- Do not use a name, a word that could be found in the dictionary, or a series of letters as it appears on the keyboard (“qwerty” and “12345” are not secure passwords)
Use unique passwords
Make sure you are using a different password for your Steam account and your contact e-mail address.
If you participate in any gaming forums, make sure that your username and password on these forum sites (including Steam’s own user forums) is different from your Steam Account name and password.
Scan your computer
Regularly scan your computer for viruses, key loggers, spyware, and other malicious code with a virus scan utility that has the most recent virus definitions.
Avoid insecure computers
Avoid accessing your Steam Account from internet cafes or shared computers – if you must use an internet cafe or shared computer, make sure it has been scanned for viruses, trojans, and keyloggers.
Always log out of your account on shared machines
If the machine you use to access Steam has multiple users, be sure to fully Exit (log out of) Steam when you are done using the machine (if the “Remember Password” option is checked or if Steam is minimized to the Windows system tray but not fully Exited another user may be able to access your account).
Things to Watch Out For
Account hijackers have several common methods of attack, most of which rely upon misinformation or deception. Your account cannot be stolen if you follow these recommendations and refrain from sharing your account.
Watch out for these activities:
- Requests for login and password information
Deny requests for login and password information from other users. Do not share your account login information with anyone. No reputable gaming clan will ask for your login information to join. Game server administrators do not need your Steam account information.
- Malicious programs in downloads
It is common for executable ( .EXE ) files, Windows screensaver ( .SCR ) files, dynamic link libraries ( .DLL ) files, and batch ( .BAT ) files being offered as parts of “mods” to contain malicious software designed to steal Steam account login information. Hacks are another very common source of malicious programs.
Steam is a great service for buying and playing games on, but its always-online nature makes it susceptible to hackers. Thankfully, Steam comes readily-equipped with some great security measures to protect you.