How safe is Steam?


In the last months a lot has been reported about Steam and its new operating system “SteamOS“. At first it shall be used exclusively for the so called Steam Machines. So a kind of game console for the living room based on normal PC hardware. In short, it’s a small, pretty computer that’s only intended for gaming.

However, this topic is still uninteresting for me. But what does it look like if SteamOS could be installed parallel to Windows on my desktop PC? When I boot up, I decide whether I want to gamble or work today. Unfortunately I haven’t read anything about such a planned function yet. But it would be worth a try! Imagine that 100% of the computer’s power flows where I need it – into my game. No annoying switching off of additional programs, virus scanners or other resource guzzlers. Not to forget Windows itself and its background services. Not to mention compatibility issues.

In my opinion Steam has developed very strongly since its launch in September 2003. In the beginning it was only a means to an end to play Valve’s box-office hit Half-Life 2 and Counter-Strike, but now it’s hard to imagine many people without it. Especially due to the large selection and the famous “Sales”, where current titles are sold with up to 70% discount. Also the prices outside these “Sales” are in the meantime similar to those of the shelf commodity, they were still more expensive to the beginnings mostly.

However, with all the considerations about Steam and his strengths, a scary thought always comes to mind: How secure is my library?

Many people – including myself – have accumulated a rather large collection of digital licenses in their libraries. There was a time when I had to have the box or DVD box of a game to put it on the shelf. Some kind of collector’s stick. In the meantime, however, I have seen it for space reasons and buy a Steam game more and more often. There are even supposed to be people who have up to 2000 titles in their library! So how reliable are my games protected via my Steam Account?  Of course there are security modules that prevent unauthorized access to the account. For example, the email with a code when accessed from a new device. But let’s be honest. If it’s a grouping of hackers on it, you can make yourself the access data including e-mail access and much more just as own. Don’t imagine, all games from one moment to the next wouldn’t be my property anymore!

But finally I come to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter if I buy a game classically with a data medium or via Steam. There is hardly a publisher who works without a client for activation anymore. Be it U-Play, Windows-Live or BattleNet. A pure offline game, which can only be played by installing it from a data medium, will die out. So we have to trust that our digital possessions will stay where they are. And as long as the games can’t be resold as “used” via the clients, the hacker in question should have a great interest in playing all stolen titles. Otherwise he can’t start much with it…

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