Steam, the global PC gaming platform by Valve Software, was allegedly banned in China on Friday. Though new evidence suggests, the outage might be due to a DNS attack.
As first reported by TheGamer, many players in China were claiming that the global version of Steam, which includes all community features and more than 110,000 games, was inaccessible in the country. Many believe this to be an alleged ban of Steam in the country, and for a good reason. We tried to verify this ourselves using Comparitech, which tests whether a website is unavailable in China or not (thanks, TheVerge). Sure enough, the tool states that “store.steampowered.com” is blocked across all of China.
SteamDB also verified that the global version of the platform is inaccessible in China. However, the Chinese version of Steam, which came out in February 2021, is still working.
https://t.co/CIws7JthEb still works (so only global Steam is affected).
Steam client itself is unaffected and users in China can still play just fine at the moment.
— SteamDB (@SteamDB) December 25, 2021
There are conflicting reports as to what’s causing the global version of Steam to be suddenly absent in China, though. Well-known dataminer PlayerIGN claims that a “DNS poisoning” attack is allegedly the reason for Steam’s outage in China. DNS poisoning is a deceptive technique hackers use to redirect a website or domain to malicious third-party websites.
There’s a DNS Cache Poisoning attack causing some players in China not able to access: Steam’s store page during the beginning of Winter Sale (Dec 22)
— being confused for an the alleged Steam ban in the country.
• The last attack happened before 2017’s Steam Winter Sale pic.twitter.com/DShiL0LYtb
— PlayerIGN (@PlayerIGN) December 25, 2021
It’s still unclear whether or not the global version of Steam is banned in China or if the outage is a result of DNS poisoning. Valve Software has yet to offer any official statement on the matter, and we likely won’t know for sure until the company clarifies things.
Written by Kyle Campbell on behalf of GLHF.