Friendly DRM: Valve Announces Steam Guard

By Alec Meer on March 3rd, 2011 at 5:32 pm.

For us, a chastity belt

Sometimes limiting what you can do with the stuff you’ve bought isn’t such a bad thing. The key is that you choose to limit it, rather than that decision being made by some paranoid corporate hivemind that’s convinced you’re going to stand on a street corner selling bootlegged copies of every game you own out of a suitcase you stole from an old lady, then spending the proceeds on injecting ground-up terrorist bones directly into your eyeballs.

Such self-policing is the apparent philosophy behind the latest update to Valve’s digital store – Steam Guard. Worried about your password being nicked? Then semi-permanently link your account to one specific PC.

It’s a great idea, with the unfortunate exception that it’s at least partially bound-up in Valve’s apparent ongoing love-in with Intel. For full protection, you’ll apparently need one of the second-generation Intel Core CPUs (Sandy Bridge et al) and associated motherboard, which will soon be updated with something called Intel Identity Protection Technology (IPT). This is hardware-based DRM, essentially, designed to mean that you can only access Steam (and presumably other types of account) with pre-approved hardware. “IPT generates a new numerical password every 30 seconds, integrating into the processor functionality that previously required a separate card or key fob”, it says here.

(The latter technique has previously been adopted by Blizzard for WoW, which was certainly secure, unless you got robbed by a very specific mugger, but made logins that much more of a faff.)

What’s not clear yet is if it will work on other PCs in a more limited capacity, and also how many PCs you can approve. I run Steam on three different machines, for instance, and I don’t want to be manually unapproving and reapproving every time I want to change my user name or download a game. “Attempts to modify or change account settings by any other PC won’t be possible without the user’s approval” is the word, which hopefully means at least playing games from your own other PCs should be possible. Protecting the password is clearly the main thrust, and in this age of keylogging and phising, it’s certainly a Very Good Idea. Even Gabe Newell thinks so:

“Account phishing and hijacking are our #1 support issues. With Intel’s IPT and Steam Guard, we’ve taken a big step towards giving customers the account security they need as they purchase more and more digital goods.”

Great! But I’m really not interested in buying a new CPU and motherboard right now, thanks. Can I at least bind a MAC address or something to Steam Guard in the meantime?

There’s also reference to Steamworks-enabled games being able to adopt it; I don’t quite grasp why, if it’s in the core application anyway – unless it’s a way of limiting installs? That would be… problematic. I’m entirely conjecturing here, however. Hopefully it just means games with other account settings within them. More details soon, no doubt.

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105 Comments »

  1. ShawnClapper says:

    Yea, many ways to recognize your pc without having to use Intels ID stuff.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Kelron says:

    Still sounds risky. What happens if your hardware fails?

    • Theory says:

      Guy from Valve says:

      This is not the case. We will provide more information in the near future that should clear up some of these questions and the surrounding confusion.

    • Premium User Badge

      Carra says:

      I was wondering about that too. What if my shiny, new intel cpu overheats?

    • passingstranger says:

      I imagine there will be customer service work-arounds as with any method like this, however this is tied directly to the CPU, a component which is rarely what fails in a system.

      Not that it doesn’t happen, however. If one failed to mount their heatsink correctly or was overclocking in foolish ways, it could indeed fail.

    • Vinraith says:

      @passingstranger

      I’ve had power supply failures fry otherwise perfectly good CPU’s (and every other component in the system).

  3. Defender says:

    “… it says here”

    Where?

  4. Zaphid says:

    Blizzards thing for securing your account seems a bit more flexible, we all know how binding licences to hardware ended up with Windows

    • Optimaximal says:

      Are you talking retail copies (which can be re-installed any number of times on any PC ~120 days after the last activation) or OEM copies (which are bound to a specific hardware signature by their license)?

      The first is reasonable, the second is what you agreed to if you bought an off-the-shelf PC or paid 1/3 of the retail price (under the guise of a system builder) for it.

  5. Quasar says:

    Hmm. Sounds like a good idea, in principle. As long as you can still play your games from other PCs, then there’s nothing much wrong with it.

    Would you be able to purchase new games without being logged into the ‘main’ PC, though? Sometimes I’ve had to furiously download Steam onto a relative’s laptop to take advantage of a great deal while I was away from home, I’d hate to shut myself out of that.

    And how would you go about recovering your account if the computer was irreparably damaged? I can see this being the downfall of some really unlucky people.

    • a.nye.123 says:

      “Sometimes I’ve had to furiously download Steam onto a relative’s laptop to take advantage of a great deal while I was away from home”

      You know you can use the webpage, right?

    • cowthief skank says:

      You should just be able to log into the Steam website to buy, if you are away from your computer and do not have Steam installed…

    • Captain Hijinx says:

      Don’t tell him that! It’s amusing to think of him furiously and pointlessly downloading Steam everywhere he goes just to get a deal.

    • qrter says:

      “GAH! I AM FURIOUS! FURIOU- oh it’s done.”

    • Quasar says:

      Dear Diary: Today, I was mocked on the internet.

      I cried and cried.

      Heh, but really, I didn’t know that. Lols.

  6. Bantros says:

    Interesting and I do have a P67 motherboard with the 2500K Sandy Bridge chip but in 18 months or so it will be upgraded. What happens then?

    OR

    What happens if my motherboard dies? It happens, when building this new rig my brand new motherboard died within a week

    • neems says:

      Presumably you will be replacing your motherboard in a month or so anyway, what with the defective p67 chipsets? Mind you I’m still not sure if I’m going to bother, I don’t use that many SATA sockets anyway.

  7. Premium User Badge

    Lars Westergren says:

    What I want Steam to add before next thanksgiving sale: a “donate directly to developer” button. When buying a game (or any time really) you could tip the developers for making awesome games.

    Two possible stumbling blocks:
    1) It would require extra administration for Steam to keep track of the developer accounts, but that shouldn’t be too tricky since they already do it for the publishers.
    2) Big publishers might frown upon it, thinking it a step towards cutting them out of the market.

  8. Senethro says:

    What is this bullshit? I thought going digital was supposed to remove all these silly ties to mere physical objects!

    Looks just like an opportunity for some publishers to impose greater restrictions. It would be just like Ubisoft to begin using Steamworks with compulsory Steamguard.

    Is it really going to be a huge upgrade in security to those of us who use unique passwords and other good practices?

    • Premium User Badge

      RaveTurned says:

      I had a laptop with a fingerprint scanner on it once. I felt really cool being able to log into windows with just a swipe of my finger. This lasted right up to the point where they vendor’s system update tried to upgrade the client security software to the next version, whereupon I was locked out of my machine. I had to do some technical gymnastics with a boot CD to get back to a desktop. When I managed to access the security client again, I found it had managed to get into a confused state where it no longer had my fingerprint data stored, but told me to buzz off when I tried to associate my prints with my login as that account had already had print data associated with it. :/

      Summary: In my experience these kinds of extra security layers seem really swish until they hit some small snag, at which point they become a nightmare to sort out.

    • sassy says:

      I think Valve are smart enough not to push further DRM into their system. They have witnessed the backlash (and even experienced with steam at the beginning) and have resisted every new wave of the ever increasing limitations of DRM. They are a smart business and know their audience well, I doubt they will do anything to jeopardize that.

      Even pressure from publishers probably wouldn’t be enough. Valve own most of the market, they have the power to control it’s flow but to the best of my knowledge have never tried. Most publishers are not about to boycott steam as they know that will cost them more then piracy (not going into whether that is actually costly, talking from publisher viewpoint), so they aren’t about to pull out over a refusal to add features that they can add themselves.

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      Er, I’m pretty sure this is optional.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      yea, I can attest to that fingerprint-swipe experience. My company bought 6 or so HP laptop with fingerprint security, etc… 1 which as a “tablet-swivel” type thing just wouldn’t recognise a swipe unless you did it in a very specific way (kinda, “across” the corner), the others were fine until the whole security thing started locking up and refusing to recognise anything, even if you were going in with the password… all of them have it disabled, so you can get in by stealing their password just like any other system. And they still have unidentifiable hardware to do with the security hardware. which leads us to blindly installing junk drivers in the hope one of them matches this security hardware.

      Of course with multiple IT support staff, with mutliple accounts, you had to remember which of your fingers was tied to which account (and no, you couldn’t reassign a finger once it was associated, even if you deleted the account)

      When I buy stuff now, i make sure to steer well clear of any “helpful” exotic security hardware. The OS and usually the BIOS packs enough protection that I’m happy.

    • Archonsod says:

      “Is it really going to be a huge upgrade in security to those of us who use unique passwords and other good practices?”

      Not really. All it IPT does is generate keys in the same manner as a keyfob, if you get enough responses from it you can back engineer to work out the algorithm and it’s cracked. Given you have users who’ll happily enter their credentials in to a false website, I reckon you could get their IPT the exact same way.

  9. kikito says:

    Going AMD. Just in case.

    • Premium User Badge

      frymaster says:

      “people with certain intel chips now have the ability to do something I don’t want to do! I’d better use AMD”

      or you could, y’know, just not do it.

    • Jaxtrasi says:

      “Optional” features are exactly one executive decision away from “mandatory”.

    • Premium User Badge

      Man Raised by Puffins says:

      Why are Valve bothering to develop the Steam Cloud if their end goal is to lock accounts to a single machine?

    • Optimaximal says:

      It doesn’t sound like they’re locking accounts, rather locking the MANAGEMENT of said accounts to known devices. Stops someone phishing/stealing your account details and then changing the password/email on it.

      Of course, if they steal your PC, you’re screwed anyway.

  10. obvioustroll says:

    Bollocks to that.

  11. Axyl says:

    finger print scanning. I saw a laptop a few months ago with a built in fingerprint scanner on it.
    Seems like a pretty solid idea if you ask me, and with a lil co-operation from peripheral manufacturers, i don’t see it being particularly difficult to integrate finger print ID directly onto your mouse.

    Imagine this…simply by you being the person using your mouse, your identity is confirmed for all logins, authorisations, etc and without any extra hassle from the user, after the initial setup of course.

    Still, all in all, i like that security is getting tighter, but they’re still trying to make it an un-invasive as possible. After all, that’s what’s wrong with the current gen of DRM.

    :)

    • Zenicetus says:

      I had a laptop like that, with a fingerprint scanner (never used it, but it was there). The laptop died last December and I had to replace it. The new one doesn’t have a fingerprint scanner, and I wouldn’t have wanted that to limit my selection of models. Now, what if I had used any DRM schemes tied to that scanner? Where would I be now?

      That’s the problem with any single-point hardware DRM scheme, unless it’s VERY easy to recover and enable your account on another computer, which kinda defeats the purpose.

    • Premium User Badge

      FriendlyFire says:

      A fingerprint scanner is still vulnerable to just about the same things as a password. A keylogger becomes ineffective, but there are other tools for it. Remember the fingerprint scanner takes an snapshot and transforms it into a hash, then uses that hash for identification. A password is the same thing, except the snapshot is a series of characters instead.

      This thing has the potential to be far more secure by constantly generating new hashes, thus making it impossible to just steal that because it’d be useful for 30 seconds or less.

    • Archonsod says:

      “That’s the problem with any single-point hardware DRM scheme, unless it’s VERY easy to recover and enable your account on another computer, which kinda defeats the purpose.”

      No it doesn’t. The purpose is to make stealing your account more difficult. At present, all I need is your login details. Adding a hardware element means adding another step, and one which may require I somehow work out what hardware you’re using and clone it.

      Recovery doesn’t have to be hard since all support need to do is get you to answer a couple of questions only you as the account holder could answer (for example the full card number you usually use to purchase games).

    • Premium User Badge

      The Sombrero Kid says:

      @Archonsod lol, you don’t know much about cryptography do you?

  12. rivalin says:

    This the thin end of the wedge, all this IPT “trusted platform content” etc is the larger corporate players trying to backdoor an utterly pervasive, undefeatable form of DRM down to the lowest level of your computer.

    If this isn’t nipped in the bud, then in a decade or so the pc landscape will likely be unrecognisable; it will essentially be like a slightly larger version of xbox live, Imagine a situation where your computer detects that you’re watching a pirated film and simply displays a warning that if you don’t close your video player then it will shut down in 30 seconds. Or your CPU will refuse to run processes that don’t transmit to it a software/hardware auth key every 30 seconds, to ensure you have a valid license for it. Imagine a platform that is completely locked down, that is where hardware makers and content creators want us to be, and it is where we will be if we don’t stop them, and soon.

    • Recidivist says:

      Confused as to how you got from this..to this ^

    • Azradesh says:

      Just google trusted computing.

    • Theory says:

      I’ve a good solution to this: don’t do things you disagree with. Meanwhile, the rest of us can benefit!

    • Archonsod says:

      There’s no such thing as uncrackable DRM, this and even Trusted Computing can be cracked. It does take somewhat more effort than simply nicking someone’s password though, so it tends to bar the lower elements (4chan trolls) in favour of the more dedicated elements (organised crime).

    • Theory says:

      There is such a thing as unbreakable security: you just have to prevent arbitrary code from being run in the environment. That is what Trusted Computing is all about. The only way anyone has found to bypass a TPM chip is modifying it with an electron microscope, and that requires unobstructed physical access.

      (I doubt this particular tech can really be defined as trusted computing BTW, though it’s clearly in the same ballpark.)

    • pepper says:

      What they havent yet realized is is that there is a army of certain users ready to hack this system.

      In the mean time, go AMD!!

    • Bhazor says:

      The government is also installing listening devices in your teeth. I read that on the internet.

    • SpinalJack says:

      indie devs are your friends

  13. subedii says:

    For the time being at least, I’m happy enough tying my Steam account to my e-mail, which I think is a pretty good option. Any changes made to the account details have to be verified from your e-mail address. And I think that we can agree in general that if someone’s also gotten access to your main e-mail account, you had far bigger problems to begin with.

  14. Kurina says:

    My concern is the press release mentions third party developers will be able to incorporate this into their software on Steam. What exactly does this mean? Will developers have the ability to tie games to processors if they choose?

    I know it sounds slightly paranoid, but in general I thought this would be a Steam level issue, not a game developer one. I am curious what their involvement would be and what it means for future releases that incorporate this feature into a game.

    • Optimaximal says:

      Valve promise a lot of ‘incentives’ as part of Steamworks… They’ll do anything to big up the platform, even if they aren’t necessary.

    • Delusibeta says:

      Remember the press release which said they every copy of a game would come with it’s own individual .exe (or something along those lines?) Has anything happened on that front yet?

  15. Recidivist says:

    I’m an AMD fanboy. So, uh…..

    I would, however, love to use this. I hope Intel doesn’t slap patents all over it so that AMD can’t do something similar. I was considering getting Intel for my next upgrade, but as soon as AMD pick up the pace with their multicore’s I’m going right back..

  16. Bob Loblaw says:

    “Can I at least bind a MAC address or something to Steam Guard in the meantime?”

    Spoofing a MAC address takes 10 seconds, so yeah, not gonna happen. :D

  17. Linfosoma says:

    Fantastic alt-text.

  18. Eightball says:

    I wonder if they’ll publish how many users adopt this in the steam surveys.

  19. Saiko Kila says:

    “I don’t want to be manually unapproving and reapproving every time I want to change my user name ”

    Don’t worry Mr. Meer. You can’t change user name on Steam anyway.

  20. sassy says:

    This is all well and good but wouldn’t better implementation just be the ability to link steam accounts to a mobile number. Then whenever a potentially fraudulent change is attempted (like changing the password), a one off code is generated and sent via text to the phone. This system is very secure as you need access to both the phone (which is potentially locked) and the steam username and password.

  21. Phinor says:

    In my opinion a useless feature to most people as it has so many problems attached to it vs. the benefits of it. I’ve four computers I use Steam on and I rebuild my main computer every 4-6 months, component by component. Too much hassle for one little extra security feature that might cause me to lose my account anyway due to hardware failures.

    I really hope this feature quickly and silently fades and dies away instead of becoming a mainstream feature but seeing how DRM spreads these days it probably becomes a mandatory feature in Steam in few years, just around the time iTunes and other software start requiring it too :/

  22. Xiyng says:

    “Sometimes limiting what you can do with the stuff you’ve bought isn’t such a bad thing. The key is that you choose to limit it”

    Precisely the reason I don’t buy pretty much any retail games that enforce Steam. Shogun 2 might the first exception, and even then I’m going to wait until price comes down and possibily a complete edition will all DLC is released. Yes, there are advantages in using Steam but to me, they’re practically useless and even if they were useful, I’d hate the fact that I couldn’t choose whether to take advantage of those features.

  23. kwyjibo says:

    I think a hardware dongle such as the Blizzard Authenticator would make for a better solution. It would allow multiple machines and would not require Intel.

    On the other hand, you would have to sell dongles.

  24. Navagon says:

    “For full protection, you’ll apparently need one of the second-generation Intel Core CPUs”

    Yeah, funny how these processors are so much more suitable for enforcing DRM restrictions. *cough*

  25. snv says:

    Immediatly reminded me of http://www.lafkon.net/tc/ and that one is _old_, but still has great stile and relevance

  26. Vinraith says:

    I wonder how long it’ll stay “optional.”

    • Delusibeta says:

      It’s more “will AMD follow suit?”. Even then, I can’t see Valve making this mandatory for at least five years without making Steam bankrupt within three months, and even then the uproar will probably be immense.

    • Bhazor says:

      Well Steam really is dangerously close to a monopoly and if they get there they can add in anything they want. Personally I wouldn’t be surprised if they added a monthly subscription in order to use the “Premium Servers” or a service charge for large downloads.

      This is why I support GFWL Marketplace and D2D. Not because they’re the best but because they break up the market.

    • Vinraith says:

      “bankrupt within three months”
      I don’t think so. At this point Valve has most of the PC gaming community by the balls. People aren’t going to give up hundreds of games in their Steam accounts over what will be perceived as a minor inconvenience by all but those few who are paying close attention. Hell, even those that see the full implications are then faced with the conundrum of either putting up with Valve’s machinations or abandoning a sizable library of games they’ve paid for, which is not a trivial decision.

      Come to think of it, I wonder just how Orwellian Valve would have to get in order for any significant portion of their user base to balk…

  27. rocketman71 says:

    That’s Intel trying again to put Palladium in our computers with a different name, although this time with a sugar coat by Valve.

    Thanks, but no thanks.

  28. GHudston says:

    STEAM MENACE!!!

    This kitten was exposed to Steam!

    Protect yourself with Steeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeam Guaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaard!!!

    (I am forever amazed and depressed by the kind of absolute nonsense that the internet has permanently etched into my brain…)

    • DerShcraa says:

      Sounds more like TV, then again I never used this device in years.

    • Donkeydeathtasticelastic says:

      Steam Guard Danger!

      This kitten was exposed to Steam Guard for thirty seconds!

      Destroy! Steeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeam Guaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaard!

  29. Premium User Badge

    Diziet Sma says:

    Thanks but no thanks until they release more information. I run steam on 3 of my computers at the moment depending on whether I’m at home, lazing about/travelling or travelling abroad.
    The problem I see is that if I choose to restrict it to a few machines then have cause to install it on another machine, If that’s not simple to do then it’s more trouble than it’s worth. Conversely if it IS simple to do then somebody stealing my password can probably do it.
    Perhaps what valve will announce is a system whereby I lock my steam account down to my desktop, my mac and my netbook. Then if anybody authenticates on steam via a different platform I receive alerts and some form of kill switch (engage?).
    That I would sign up to.

  30. Tei says:

    This don’t sound right.
    Steam works becuase is fair. Anything new will only work if is fair. About all DRM create more problems than it deserve. Warez is not a problem, the people that think warez is a problem is the problem.

    Anyway, lets wait and see until more details about this shows.

  31. FRIENDLYUNIT says:

    Hmmm. Yeah. I understand it’s an issue for them but it seems slightly at odds with this notion that you can have them keep a library of your games and access it from anywhere anytime.

  32. passingstranger says:

    Though I don’t have a Sandy Bridge chip, I am immediately enamored by the notion of a protection system in which a password is changed every 30 seconds. It’s like I’m in a heist film, but the score is Blueberry Garden.

  33. Duoae says:

    I don’t get it? How is it friendly? How is it not the same as any other DRM and *why* is that cartoon character giving people presents when the actual gaming public will receive nothing except more headaches…… If something goes wrong you are FORCED to deal with Steam customer service…… that is not something i wish on anyone. It’s worse than all those credit card company call centres…. except there’s no way to talk to a person, no way to have your problem looked at outside of someone in America in a vastly different time zone…. no way to question the “perfect” system…. You have no rights and they don’t want to give you any because we’re all filthy scheming pirates!!! (Insert obligatory “Yaaar!” here)

    In short: This is only a win for Intel who possibly gets to sell more chipsets and CPUs on the back of Valve’s popularity.
    Curiously, is there some conflict with RPS’ reporting of this story? I mean, Intel have been giving them a lot of dough for articles recently. How’s your objectivity Alec?

  34. Ovno says:

    Looks like I’ll be buying AMD next then….

  35. Prospero424 says:

    It never fails to surprise me how misunderstood this sort of technology (TPM, multi-factor authentication, etc.) is by otherwise savvy tech users.

    It’s not DRM. It’s account authentication, it’s OPTIONAL and will remain so until the means for multi-factor authentication are ubiquitous.

    It’s not gonna lock you out of your damned pirated games, it’s not gonna lock you into playing your Steam games on one machine, and it’s really, really not rocket science. Get a grip and just take a few minutes to read and understand.

    Personally, I’d like to see Steam Guard expanded to support other authentication methods (like the aforementioned USB key fobs). Stuff like YubiKey would be great additions. I’ve had friends who were taken down by social engineering and brute-force attacks on their Steam accounts. Stuff like this is the best way to make these sorts of attacks just about impossible without direct access to your authentication mechanism (in this Intel case, your specific processor).

  36. Prospero424 says:

    Hell, people use this kind of authentication with TrueCrypt all of the time. Instead of just a password to access your encrypted volume, you need your password AND the output of a supported key generator, regardless of whether that key is generated by a USB fob, a biometric scanner, or an IPT/TPM device like the new Sandy Bridge chips.

    Services like LastPass and password managers like KeyPass offer this as well.

    In fact, I’d be VERY surprised if Steam Guard didn’t also support YubiKey within 6 months after this goes live.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      So why not just generate a public/private keypair then and fuck off with all that stupid, purely marketing based hardware locking?

      Silly crap is silly and stupid and pointless and classic Intel.

  37. neolith says:

    I cannot see why anyone would use such a ‘feature’. This kind of DRM seems exceptionally restrictive.

    • Prospero424 says:

      Where do you get these ideas? Seriously? How is this any more “restrictive” than your bank asking for your grandmother’s maiden name or something when you want to make a change to your account? If anything, this is less intrusive since it doesn’t involve information about you, but about your computer.

    • neolith says:

      I tend to change my machine way more often than I change my identity. Also I play on more than one computer while I only have one identity.

  38. Nesetalis says:

    oh, great, another wonderful step away from anonymity. :\ and they try to sell it to us as its “good for you” like pre-dinner mayonnaise.

    • Premium User Badge

      Devan says:

      That’s my take on this too. Sure, having your account hacked sucks, but they have ways of getting it back, and it’s not like one couldn’t just use stronger passwords and don’t use the same password everywhere.

      The last thing I want to do is “upgrade” to new hardware with “features” that facilitate even more stringent DRM. All my hardware are belong to me, and it must not attempt to uniquely identify me, prevent me from doing something that it is capable of doing, or perform any extra tasks that I don’t want it to do.

      IMHO, hardware DRM like this is paving the way for a much more restrictive future where the manufacturers and publishers decide when and how you will use the products that you “own”. And you can bet it’ll be used to further the trend of changing software from a product into a service, which is simply a way of gaining more revenue and has a net result of reduced privacy and reduced freedom to do what you want with the things you pay for.

      Valve may have good intentions for this (preventing user pain and reducing their own support costs), but I’m staying far away from Sandy Bridge or any other hardware with intrinsic DRM.
      We _need_ to let the hardware manufacturers know that it’s not a desirable feature and vote with our wallets. There’s so few manufacturers out there that if they all went that route we’d have a very tough decision to make.

    • Prospero424 says:

      Why would you be worried about remaining anonymous to someone you’ve ALREADY GIVEN YOUR CREDIT CARD TO!? For God’s sake, people…

  39. bonjovi says:

    I hope it’s only politics. That they were forced to do this. Corporate pressure. It might be a their No 1 customer care issue, but that only means how little people know about personal security on the internet. We need to educate customers, not treat them like cattle. no?

    • Prospero424 says:

      Treat them like… huh? How is this…? What…? I really don’t see how this can be so hard for people like you to understand. How do you get the idea in your head that this is something completely the opposite of what it actually is?

      Truly, truly baffling.

  40. bill says:

    It being optional is nice.
    I suspect IPT will be used for large numbers of non-optional DRM schemes in the near future.

    I was wondering recently why more web based apps/sites don’t have the equivalent of admin/user rights.
    For example, there are a number of sites that i’d like to log into from work/public/semi-trusted pcs, and i don’t really want to enter my username and password into those (for example gmail).
    If I had 2 passwords, and one allowed use, but not any administrative actions, then I could use that password when I was away from home and even if someone stole it they wouldn’t be able to hijack my account, change my password or anything. And when I used the admin account at home it’d tell me about any recent user usage, so i could spot if that had happened.

    If admin/user is so great for desktop security, why isn’t it used in the cloud?

  41. Sigh says:

    Could someone provide me with Valve’s physical address?

    I would like to send them a saliva swab, a urine sample, and a stool sample so they can link my Steam account to by unique DNA fingerprint. They could also test my samples to see if I am operating Steam or playing games under the influence at which point they should lock down my account (except for the ability to purchase new titles of course).

  42. Premium User Badge

    Diziet Sma says:

    Seems as though steam guard pretty much is what I thought it was. A kind of 2 factor auth for initial authorisation on new machines, to quote from the RSS feed:

    With Steam Guard enabled, anyone attempting to login as you from an unrecognized computer must first provide additional, one-time authorization. A special access code will be sent to your contact email address, and this code must be entered into Steam before your first login on an unfamiliar computer is complete. You will also be notified if any login attempts from computers other than those you’ve authorized occur. Steam Guard essentially acts as a form of “User Rights Management,” where you as the user have greater control over access to your stuff.

  43. RegisteredUser says:

    I think this is just a cunning way of trying to convert us to the dark side.
    Once we “understand” DRM better, it will become more and more acceptable to use to lock crap down.

    Of course.

    Also wtf intel. It’s not like you haven’t made multicore cpus of which at least one core always lies dormant in just about every game out there that could be doing this snoozefest of a key generation algo in the background every 30 seconds.

    Also I absolutely loathe Intel for abandoning the Core I3-7 socket so quickly in favor of the new, totally unecessary GPU integration crap that is Sandy Bridge.

    They should have kept pin compatibility and upgraded the family, plus offer the usual integrated combo as alternative, not gone the make-moar-munnies route.

  44. RegisteredUser says:

    P.S. If they really wanted _SECURITY_ there are over 9000 better ways of doing this(PGP / OpenVPN like logic, actual, strong passwords in combination with keys/certs, mobile phone confirmation etc pp) as opposed to hardware locking.

    This is just something to market Intel’s new tech that does nothing that isn’t already solved a hundred times better, more openly and independently.

  45. somnolentsurfer says:

    This may be optional, but it appears to be opt-out rather than opt-in. Last night, I thought I’d lost access to my games, ’cause rebooting my Macbook Pro to Windows apparently puts me on a different machine.
    It seems to work by just sending out a code via e-mail to authorise access to your account on that machine. Which is all well and good, and I’d be perfectly happy with if it wasn’t for the fact that I’ve had an ongoing issue with e-mails sent from Valve since 2009. As in, I don’t receive them. They never show up. I’ve provided copies of logs from my e-mail host that they say demonstrate it’s Valve’s fault, but nothing’s been done.
    Strangely, now I’ve opted out from the preferences in OS X, I don’t seem to have an option to opt back in. I’m a little concerned I’ll be treated less seriously if I have any problems with account security in the future.

    Edit: Huh. So, I restarted Steam and the opt-in option is back. I’m still concerned about being taken less seriously though.

  46. Ovno says:

    Ahh steam guard asking me to authenticate the same computer 3 times, looks like your getting disabled, but its ok I never wanted you in the first place…