Valve adds CAPTCHA to Steam Trading platform

January 12, 2015 // 11:57 a.m.

Tags: #captcha #digital-distribution #fraud #steam #steam-trading #steam-trading-cards #trading #trading-cards #virtual-goods

Valve is continuing its crack-down on misuse and abuse of the trading facilities on its Steam digital distribution platform, now adding a CAPTCHA to block automated trading bots.

Recently, Valve has tweaked the rules for membership of its Steam digital distribution platform to include region-locks designed to block grey-market software exports and introduced limits on trading in what it claimed was an attempt to prevent customers being ripped off by traders who had used stolen or otherwise fraudulent payment details for the original purchase.

Now, the company has issued an update to the platform which adds a CAPTCHA - Completely Automated Public Turing-test to tell Computers and Humans Apart - in an effort to block bots and malware from performing high-volume or illegitimate trading on the service. 'We’re updating trading to include a captcha as part of confirmation process. This is to prevent malware on users’ machines making trades on their behalf,' Valve's John Cook explained in a community update. 'We know it’s a bit of a hassle, and we don’t like making trading harder for users, but we do expect it to significantly help customers who are tricked into downloading and running malware from losing their items.'

Trading has become increasingly popular on Steam since the launch of Trading Cards, a system by which games opted in drop a number of virtual collectable cards which can be swapped with friends or sold on the market for a small quantity of cash. The reward for completing a full set of cards is a 'badge' - again virtual - with the trick being that a game will only ever drop a sub-set of the cards required for each badge, requiring the user to swap spare cards or buy them outright to complete the collection.

Interest in the Steam Trading Cards system has resulted in the launch of several third-party services designed to make trading the virtual items easier, something Cook claims the company is not looking to block. 'We’ve excluded a few of the existing third-party trading services from this requirement so they can continue to function,' he wrote, without detailing what happens to the majority of third-party trading services not singled-out for special treatment under the new update.
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