Steam account hacked? Steps to recover and protect it

Anton P. | November 30, 2022

Having your Steam account hacked means unauthorized access to your game library and even bank information. Criminals quickly replace email addresses and passwords to deny access to real owners.

Thousands of people report losing access to Steam libraries after spending hundreds of hours and dollars. However, victims must go through a process of showing proof of account ownership to recover access.

Steam account hacked: signs of account hijacking

A Steam account hacked could mean that owners suddenly get logged out of their accounts. Despite trying to sign in with the correct login credentials, Steam keeps insisting they are incorrect.

As you investigate further, you might notice several changes to your hacked Steam:

  • The email address linked to your Steam account is no longer the same.
  • The Steam account (if not set to private) shows activities you did not initiate.
  • The profile image has changed.
  • The profile also has new names on the friends lists.

If you experience loss of access, you can first try to self-recover the account and then contact Steam support. However, you will need to prove account hijacking and ownership.

How do criminals take over Steam accounts?

Hackers aim to compromise account security on various platforms. However, Steam users could see themselves as less promising victims. Some facts can quickly debunk this myth:

  • A community of around 132 million monthly active players represents a pool of potential victims for hackers.
  • An average player has approximately 20 games. Thus, the Steam account value can go through the roof depending on the number of purchased titles.
  • Gamers frequently skip additional account security measures like two-factor authentication.
  • Gaming industry developers do not usually treat security as a priority. The need for secure software gets overshadowed by the requirements to deliver games quickly.

So, hackers typically go after Steam users in multiple ways.

  1. Fake tournaments and esports

To get a Steam account hacked, scammers send out messages inviting players to join tournaments.

Players have reported receiving dubious private messages on Steam. In this case, criminals crafted invitations for promising players to compete with other up-and-comers.

However, the riveting opportunity is nothing but a scam, one that plans to initiate browser-in-the-browser attacks.

If targeted players click on included links, they get redirected to a fake Steam login page. Once victims enter their login credentials, hackers can swiftly jump in and take the account.

  1. Phishing emails or messages

Scammers might customize their social engineering scenario based on their targets. For instance, Steam accounts show the number of games they have in their libraries. Thus, a user can become a target for having dozens or hundreds of games.

Here are some popular items or opportunities scammers can promise to trick users into downloading files or opening unknown links:

  • Rare skins
  • Expansion packs
  • Limited-time offers
  • Game discounts
  • Free trials for paid games
  • Unique mods
  • Special DLC
  • Free cheating programs
  • Free keys for Steam games
  • Private BETA invitations
  1. Fake websites

Fake Steam websites and pop-ups can look authentic and even feature legitimate HTTPS locks and SSL certificates. However, always access Steam directly and not via unclear hyperlinks.

However, deceptive websites coming after your account might not pretend to be Steam. Fake stores of skins or other game assets might require your Steam credentials to purchase particular items.

  1. Reused login credentials

You might have Steam accounts hacked if your personal information has leaked online. Our research suggests that data breaches in 2021 affected 6 billion accounts.

Hackers can use the exposed email accounts to find other associated profiles. Then, they can use leaked passwords or techniques like credential stuffing to compromise linked accounts.

So, appropriately prepare for a data breach, create strong and unique passwords, and implement 2FA whenever possible.

  1. Information-stealing malware

Fake cheating programs, mods, and pirated games are common sources of malware.

One hacking campaign distributed malicious software for capturing Roblox and Steam gaming accounts. The attack infected over 890,000 devices in 111 countries.

Users would get compromised by clicking on unsafe download links embedded in lotteries, reviews, and forums.

How to recover a Steam account hacked?

Here are the recommendations for regaining access to your account:

  1. If you have your Steam account hacked, scan your system for malware. The spyware or keylogger could continue capturing your login credentials even after account recovery. So, get reliable antivirus tools to find and remove potentially harmful programs.
  2. Open the Steam login page and click on the Hi, I can’t sign in option.
  3. Click on the option My Steam account was stolen, and I need help recovering it.
  4. Read the recommendations for proper account security and management.
  5. Open Reset my password and complete the required steps.
  6. For the required email address, use the one associated with your Steam account (even if hijackers changed it).
  7. Find invoices for your previous game purchases, which should serve as proof of ownership.

Other Steam account security tips

Protect your Steam account from unauthorized access by following these tips:

  • Set up Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator to bring 2FA protection to your accounts.
  • Do not use the same passwords more than once to contain the effects of data breaches.
  • Be wary of direct messages or social media posts announcing special game sales or tournaments.
  • If you notice suspicious activity on your Steam account, reset your password. You can also use the official self-locking tool to prevent unauthorized access.
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Anton P.

Anton P.

Former chef and the head of Atlas VPN blog team. He's an experienced cybersecurity expert with a background of technical content writing.

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