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Steam forums and database hacked

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(CBS) - The online video game service Steam has been hacked, Valve chief executive officer Gabe Newell announced to users Friday morning.

Originally, the company thought only the forums had been breached, but a message posted on Steam reveals that more data has been "accessed."

"We learned that intruders obtained access to a Steam database in addition to the forums. This database contained information including user names, hashed and salted passwords, game purchases, email addresses, billing addresses and encrypted credit card information," said Newell.

It looks like there is some level of protection as far as passwords and credit card information is concerned. The "hashed" Newell refers to is a method of password encryption that uses a one-way algorithm. Meaning, it's not possible to reverse the password after encryption. To "salt" a hash is when a random set of data is added to the hashed password for further scrambling.

Newell went on to say that there is currently no evidence that the encryption on users' credit card information has been cracked. The incident is still being investigated.

Users are not required to change their passwords, but it is advised - especially if the same password is being used for both Steam and the Steam forums. Even more so if it is a generic password used on several other sites associated with the same email address.

Steam is an online video game platform owned by Valve Corporation. Members can buy and play games online through the service. The company reported approximately 30 million active accounts as of 2010.

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