Valve Software’s global PC gaming platform Steam was reportedly banned in China on Friday. Although new evidence suggests, the outage could be due to a DNS attack.
As first reported by The player, many gamers in China claimed that the global version of Steam, which includes all community features and over 110,000 games, was inaccessible in the country. Many believe this is an alleged Steam ban in the country, and for good reason. We have tried to verify it ourselves using Comparitech, which tests whether a website is not available in China or not (thanks, The edge). Indeed, the tool indicates that “store.steampowered.com” is blocked throughout China.
SteamDB has also verified that the global version of the platform is inaccessible in China. However, the Chinese version of Steam, which was released in February 2021, still works.
https://t.co/CIws7JthEb still works (so only Global Steam is affected).
The Steam client itself is not affected, and users in China can still play just fine for now.
– SteamDB (@SteamDB) December 25, 2021
However, there are conflicting reports on the cause of the sudden absence of the global version of Steam in China. Well-known dataminer PlayerIGN claims that a “DNS poisoning” attack is the reason for Steam’s outage in China. DNS poisoning is a deceptive technique used by hackers to redirect a website or domain to malicious third-party websites.
There is a DNS cache poisoning attack preventing some players in China from accessing the Steam store page at the start of winter sales (December 22)
– to be confused with the alleged ban of Steam in the country.
• The last attack took place before the Steam Winter Sale of 2017 pic.twitter.com/DShiL0LYtb
– PlayerIGN (@PlayerIGN) December 25, 2021
It’s still unclear if the global version of Steam is banned in China or if the outage is the result of DNS poisoning. Valve Software has yet to make an official statement on this matter, and we likely won’t know until the company clarifies matters.
Written by Kyle Campbell on behalf of GLHF.