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(Pocket-lint) - Valve has revealed that a staggering 77,000 Steam accounts are hacked each month, with the problem multiplying dramatically since the introduction of Steam Trading - the ability to trade away gift copies of games, in-game items and Steam Trading Cards.

Thieves are hijacking accounts and making enough money by selling on a user's library of digital content that it has become a valuable pursuit for skilled hackers. The items are also shifted through a network of bogus accounts and eventually to innocent, normal third-parties, making them hard to track and even harder for Valve to reclaim.


Instead, the company has recently been gifting additional copies of items to hacking victims, but would rather users followed more stringent security measures it has put in place. What's more, the victims haven't just been newbies to the platform, but experienced gamers who have racked up enough trading cards and the like to make the swag even more attractive.

It's Home Security Week on Pocket-lint

Valve therefore recommends that all users add Steam Guard to their accounts, which requires authentication from an app on a separate device - such as a smartphone - every time they log in. This is a step that hackers cannot emulate without the specific extra device.

Two-factor autheticators are not new in online security, and can be a pain considering a new pass code needs to be acquired and then entered on each log in, but they are very effective.

Surely it's better than seeing all your items vanish from your account? Or worse, your bank details being used to buy the content in the first place.

Writing by Rik Henderson.