Steam ban in China could actually be a DNS attack

After reports that the international version of Steam has been banned in China, it appears to be more of a DNS attack.

At the moment, what exactly happened with the global version of the platform in China is not 100% confirmed, with conflicting information. On December 25, it was reported that Chinese players have been banned from using the international version of Steam, although the onshore version of Steam China is still working at the time of its release.

Regarding the apparent global client ban, SteamDB tweeted, “There are reports that the Steam Store is blocked in China.

“The store and API subdomains seem to be going through login resets on some Akamai IP addresses (which is typical for a great firewall), the same way GitHub was blocked. Other subdomains (like the partner site) are working for the moment.

Dataminer PlayerIGN also tweeted a thread which can be found here explaining that a DNS cache poisoning attack was preventing some Chinese players from accessing the platform. PlayerIGN has contacted several Chinese players regarding Global Client Access and received conflicting reports on how it works.

Essentially, a DNS cache poisoning attack involves hacking the DNS to return a different result, which can prevent players from accessing one domain or hijack them to another.

As noted in a Steamworks article, Steam China has a “pre-requisite for releasing games on Steam China,” which “receives approval from the Chinese government for your game.” According to our calculations, there are a little over 50 games available on this version of Steam, and many features present in the overall client are not present.

Steam bridge. Credit: Valve

In a 2019 interview with Eurogamer, Valve’s DJ Powers spoke about Steam China and the company’s plans for Steam in the country. When asked if Global Steam would still be available in China, Powers replied, “Nothing will change about Global Steam. “

At the time of publication, there has been no concrete confirmation as to the cause of Steam’s global outage in China, and no word from Valve. This story will be updated when we hear more.

In other news, the development of Final fantasy 16 has been delayed by “almost six months” due to the pandemic, with a release date yet to be announced.

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