Subscribe To Valve Needs Your Help Testing Steam's Security Updates
I've already subscribed
Valve is testing an all new way to securely log into your account and access your library. How will this be accomplished? Well, they're attempting to follow in Blizzard's footsteps with a new two-step authentication process using mobile devices.
IGN has a brief rundown of the news, detailing how the new authentication system will actually run through a beta testing phase before going live for the rest of the Steam gaming community.
The news was made available over in the Steam Community group page, where it was stated...
“The Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator will soon be in limited beta as a feature of the iOS and Android mobile applications (which will be updated soon). The authenticator provides two-factor login to Steam. It also provides additional ways to protect and recover your account.”
The beta will be available for Android devices first since they were recently updated through the Google Play store. According to the page on Steam Community, the beta will also include support for iOS soon. So if you're rocking an iPad or an iPhone you'll be able to get in on the beta just like your Android-carrying brethren.
The Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator will work in cohesion with the Steam app on mobile devices, and work as an alternative way to gain access to your account outside of the current two-step authentication setup that Valve employs for accessing Steam on desktop computers, laptops or mobile devices.
As some of you already know, the current two-step authentication process includes attempting to log into your account from a new or unregistered source, and Valve will send an e-mail to the registered Steam account. The e-mail usually continues a handful of letters and numbers that you enter at the screen prompt, along with the option to name the computer, laptop or mobile device in which you're attempting to access your account from. This makes it easier to identify when you're playing on different devices and prevents you from having to re-enter the same information over and over again if you decide to return to that device to access your Steam account.
Right now Valve has selected 100 beta participants to try out the new mobile authentication through the Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator. While there haven't been widespread reports of users frequently having their Steam accounts stolen, it is nice that Valve is already thinking ahead and looking to add additional security before they're forced to add it out of necessity.
As mentioned over on the Steam Community page, if all goes well with the 100 people currently partaking in the beta, Valve has plans to open the beta up to more people and then eventually enable the Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator for everyone.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with more security. The fact that Valve is already taking these steps ahead of the inevitable launch of the Steam Machines this fall – which also require access to your Steam account to play games – this should help satiate any worries over security breaches when the time comes for the devices to launch. If you would like to participate in the ongoing beta test, you can sign up by joining the Mobile Authentication Beta group over on the Steam Community page.