Christmas is usually a time of good will and sharing with others; unfortunately for Steam users, a caching error caused them to share a little more than they wanted during the holidays. For about an hour, the game distribution platform displayed random accounts; allowing people to view all sorts of information like stranger’s Wishlist, shopping cart, and even account details.
Steam users expressed confusion and shock as their clients returned unrecognisable accounts; some with different languages. A prevailing theory at the time was that the cache was returning the same group of unfortunate users to everyone, as many users on social media and Reddit were reporting seeing the same names over and over again.
The incident happened at about 4am local time, when most sensible Malaysians would be in bed. The error had no effect on those playing games either, which is why it likely went unnoticed in this region. Valve acted very quickly to bring fix the problem, although there is a fear that large amounts of data had been harvested from the leaks.
Valve’s director of marketing, Doug Lombardi, released a statement shortly after the problem was fixed, saying that the company does not believe that any unauthorised actions were taken on the accounts.
“Steam is back up and running without any known issues. As a result of a configuration change earlier today, a caching issue allowed some users to randomly see pages generated for other users for a period of less than an hour. This issue has since been resolved. We believe no unauthorized actions were allowed on accounts beyond the viewing of cached page information and no additional action is required by users.”
Steam appears to be up and running properly now. That being said, the Discovery Queue still occasionally asks users to log in again; a problem that was visible during the caching error.