Valve takes measures against fake free Dragonclaw Hook scam pages

Steven R. April 5, 2019

After months of inaction, Valve is finally taking measures to combat one of Steam’s most aggressive phishing scams.

In a news post on the official Steam Community page, Valve announced that it was changing its policies regarding the Dota 2 workshop. The workshop will now require users to take an extra email verification step.

“First-time submissions to the Dota workshop will now require email verification before the item can be listed publicly,” the post reads. “For those of you that have previously submitted workshop items, you shouldn't see any change in functionality.”

The Steam workshop is a resource for creators to distribute their content and potentially have it added to the game in an official capacity. Games like Elders Scrolls V: Skyrim have various custom items and mods available for download, while Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has maps and weapon skins.

The Dota 2 workshop can include anything from custom game modes to announcer packs, but its primary function was to offer a pathway for new skins to be added to the game. However, over recent months the Dota 2 workshop has been overwhelmed by dubious submissions that offered players supposedly free items, including the extremely rare Dragonclaw Hook. Users that attempted to capitalize on the offer ran the risk of having their accounts hijacked.

Despite these listings posing a serious security threat, Valve’s policy has been to simply have moderators manually remove reported posts. As bots made these listings more and more common, this method proved to be lacking. For over a year, fake giveaways have routinely popped up in the workshop, and in recent months the front page has at times been covered with scam posts.

The addition of that extra hurdle will ideally filter out the bulk of these illegitimate listings.

While it’s far from airtight, Valve’s aim is to filter out spammers and bots without disturbing people who use the workshop for its intended purpose.

“Our aim with this change is to reduce the potential for scams on the Steam platform, without creating unnecessary hassle for frequent Workshop creators,” Valve said.

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