Tag Archives: Online gaming

Steam Partially Blocked In China, What's Going On?

Steam Partially Blocked In China! What’s Going On?

On Christmas Day 2021, Steam was partially blocked in China!

Did China just ban Steam? Let’s take a look at what’s going on…

 

Steam Partially Blocked In China, What’s Going On?

On 25 December 2021, while people were celebrating Christmas across the world, the Steam store and API domains (and subdomains) suddenly became inaccessible in China.

  • Store.Steampowered.com
  • Steamcommunity.com

According to SteamDB, the global Steam Store and API subdomains appear to experience “connection resets” on some Akamai IP addresses, which is typical for domains blocked by China’s Great Firewall.

However, the Steam client and other subdomains, including partner sites, continue to be accessible in China. So the Steam ban that everyone was reporting about, is only partial and intermittent.

Gamers in China can still play their games using the Steam client, and some users say that they are still able to access the Store and purchase games.

From what we understand, only port 443 is being blocked, and the connection is reset after a period of time. So it is an intermittent interference like what happened to GitHub.

The Steam China Store is not affected, but offers a far limited selection of games and features, as it was built to comply with the Chinese government’s strict regulations on games and Internet usage.

 

Steam Troubles In China : Warning Or Actual Ban?

The Steam downtime does not seem to be due to a DNS poisoning attack. Rather, it seems to be some kind of action sanctioned by the Chinese government.

The intermittent and partial nature of Steam’s downtime in China suggests that this isn’t an actual ban… yet.

Gamers, for example, can still continue to play games using the Steam client, and some could even access the global store and make game purchases, at least intermittently.

Interestingly, there has been no bombastic editorial from Global Times or any of the other Chinese state media, which suggests that this is a subtle warning to Steam to “play ball” with the Chinese government.

It could be related to the CCP’s crackdown on video games and Internet usage some three months ago :

  • Strict limits on how long minors can engage in online games – up to one hour per day, and only from 8 PM to 9 PM on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays.
  • Real name registration of online game accounts – gamers must register using their real names.

Or it could be related to the strict approval of online games. China, for example, suspended video game approvals for 3 months in September 2021.

If so, access to the global Steam store may miraculously be restored in full once Steam has made the required “corrections” or at least committed to those “corrections”.

The global Steam store could also end up being banned for real, leaving only the minuscule Steam China Store to cater to China’s domestic consumption.

Either way, many netizens and gamers have expressed gratitude that they are living on the right side of the Great Firewall.

 

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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3 Days Later… Roblox Is Finally Up + Running Again!

Three days after they fell off the face of the Earth, Roblox is finally UP and RUNNING again!

Roblox’s CEO explains what happened…

 

3 Days Later… Roblox Is Finally Up + Running Again!

Ever since Roblox went down on 29 October 2021, they have been saying that they are “making progress” and even “identified an underlying internal cause of the outage“.

But frustrated kids… and adults who are kids at heart, spent the weekend walking around like zombies because they could no longer get their fix of Arsenal or Piggy.

Just kidding! Many of them turned to Minecraft or Among Us, because who can go a weekend without games?

Anyway…. 3 days later… Roblox finally announced that they “identified root cause and solution” and “are working on getting things back online“.

And about 7 hours later, they managed to get Roblox up and running globally!

 

Roblox CEO On What Happened…

Roblox founder and CEO, David Baszucki, later shared a little on what happened and why it took them so long to get the problems fixed.

  • it was a combination of several factors
  • there was a subtle bug in their backend service communications that is triggered under heavy load
  • a core system in their infrastructure became overwhelmed
  • it was not due to external traffic or any particular experience (e.g. Chipotle promotion)
  • the failure was due to the growth in the number of servers in their datacenters

So it looks like it really did not involve whacking their servers with a crowbar, or praying to them…

The good news is – there has been NO LOSS of player’s data, and your Roblox experience should be fully back to normal!

 

3 Days Earlier… Roblox Went Down HARD

Here’s a quick round-up of what happened three days ago, for people who have no freaking idea what happened.

A couple of days ago, Chipotle announced that they would open a virtual restaurant in Roblox, which will give away free burritos, virtual costumes and exclusive items. There’s even a fun Boorito Maze to try out!

But about 30 minutes after that Chipotle event kicked off, Roblox started experiencing problems, which snowballed until their entire platform and website fell off the face of the Earth.

That was THREE DAYS AGO… and since then, all we know is that they have been working hard to figure out what went wrong, and no, it was not Chipotle’s fault.

Read more : Roblox Down More Than 2 Days, Not Because Of Chipotle!

 

Please Support My Work!

Support my work through a bank transfer /  PayPal / credit card!

Name : Adrian Wong
Bank Transfer : CIMB 7064555917 (Swift Code : CIBBMYKL)
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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Roblox Down More Than 2 Days, Not Because Of Chipotle!

Roblox, has been down for MORE THAN 2 days now, but apparently, it has NOTHING to do with the massive Chipotle promotion!

Here is what we know so far…

 

Roblox Down More Than 2 Days

Roblox first experienced issues at around 7 AM on 29 October 2021, which initially affected only Games and Account Information.

But that snowballed and the entire Roblox gaming platform and website went offline, forcing them to issue a terse tweet saying that they are “working hard to get things back to normal”.

Unfortunately, they didn’t seem to be making much progress because Roblox has been down for more than two days!

That’s an eternity for an online gaming platform, especially a massively-popular one for kids… on a weekend!

At about 11 PM on 30 October, the Roblox website announced that it is “currently in maintenance mode to allow for internal work to be completed“.

More than 6 hours later – Roblox remained offline, with another round of assurance that they’re working on the problem :

Did they get locked out of their servers like Facebook earlier this month? Sounds far worse, if you ask me…

Read more : Did 13 Yr Sun Jisu Hack Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram?

 

Roblox Went Down Not Because Of Chipotle

On 26 October 2021, Chipotle announced that it would open a virtual restaurant in Roblox, offering $1 million in free burritos!

Fans would be able to visit the virtual Chipotle restaurant to score a free burrito, by dressing up in new Chipotle-inspired Halloween virtual costumes.

They would also be able to navigate the Chipotle Boorito Maze to unlock exclusive Roblox items!

Some irate players have suggested that Roblox went down because of this Chipotle promotion, a hypothesis that had some teeth because the issues started occurring about 30 minutes after Chipotle promotion kicked off!

However, Roblox later claimed that the downtime was NOT related to the Chipotle promotion :

We know that this outage was not related to any specific experiences or partnerships on the platform.

At 5 AM on 31 October, Roblox shared that they “believe” they identified the problem :

We believe we have identified an underlying internal cause of the outage. We’re in the process of performing the necessary engineering and maintenance work to get Roblox back up and running ASAP. Thanks for your patience.

Well, Chipotle’s fault or not, kids and adults who are kids at heart around the world will be eagerly waiting for Roblox to get back online again!

Until then, enjoy these funny memes and comments by Roblox fans!

 

Please Support My Work!

Support my work through a bank transfer /  PayPal / credit card!

Name : Adrian Wong
Bank Transfer : CIMB 7064555917 (Swift Code : CIBBMYKL)
Credit Card / Paypal : https://paypal.me/techarp

Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Did TM Block Games On Unifi? No, And Here’s Why…

The official Unifi support account on Twitter shocked Malaysians when it claimed that TM will block games with inappropriate content.

We confirmed that it actually happened, but that it was all a misunderstanding, and Unifi did not block access to the Rainbow Six Siege game servers.

Here is what happened, and how TM Unifi’s response kicked off the whole controversy…

 

TM Unifi Will Block Games With Inappropriate Content?

The whole issue started when Ahmad Asyraf asked the official Unifi support account on Twitter (@helpmeunifi) to check why he was unable to connect to the Rainbow Six Siege game servers on Unifi.

Shockingly, he was told that “TM will block if the games involve inappropriate content such as violent, gaming, scam, etc.

While some netizens started saying that @helpmeunifi is a fake account, that’s not true. It is a genuine Unifi support account on Twitter.

We got in touch with a Unifi Chat staff to clarify this, and she confirmed that the @helpmeunifi statement was correct.

It would have been easy to stop there, and start lambasting Unifi for such a policy. After all, the Malaysian government is promoting esports involving FPS games like Rainbow Six Siege!

But for us, their statements appear to be boilerplate replies by frontline staff members who have no idea if this is actually a technical issue, or a policy decision.

 

No, TM Unifi Did Not Block Access To Game Servers

So we wrote to TM by email, asking them to clarify why Unifi users are unable to access Rainbow Six Siege game servers.

If it was a technical issue, what was the problem, and when will Unifi be able to restore access?

And if it was a policy issue, we wanted to know how TM came to that decision to block access to the Rainbow Six Siege game servers on Unifi, and if that was a directive by the MCMC (Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission).

This was their replies to us in two separate emails (edited for clarity) :

We are not restricting access to Ubisoft game servers. We are currently working on the issue with Ubisoft.

Our 2nd Level team is already aware of this issue, and are in the midst of investigating the cause. We cannot give you a restoration time frame, and sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused.

So, there you have it, everyone. Confirmation that TM did not actually block access to the Rainbow Six Siege game servers, or any game server for the matter.

As we suspected, the TM Unifi frontline support staff merely recited their boilerplate policy that they have the right to block access to content with inappropriate content.

However, that is not the case with this sudden loss of connectivity to Ubisoft servers. And even more unfortunately, they cannot give anyone an idea of when they can restore connectivity…

 

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Razer Sponsors MY eSports Team To SEA Games 2019!

eSports is set to become a legitimate sports when it is included as a medaled event at the SEA Games 2019! And Razer has committed to sponsoring the Malaysian national team!

 

SEA Games 2019

The Philippines will host the upcoming 30th SEA Games in November, where eSports officially becomes one of the medal events.

 

This is the first time eSports would be recognised as a legitimate sporting event and contribute to the overall medal tally.

Official eSports Partner For SEA Games 2019

Razer is the official eSports partner of SEA Games 2019. They have also pledged to support the Malaysian eSports national team who will represent the country at the SEA Games in November.

 

Razer will do this by providing:

  • Professional eSports training
  • Tournament gear
  • Social Media promotion
  • Community Events

Razer’s initiatives and RM 10 million long-term commitment to eSports in Malaysia matches the Malaysian government’s own efforts to further boost the eSports industry in the country.

 

Official eSports Titles For SEA Games 2019

South East Asia’s biggest sporting event will kick off its eSports’ debut with 5 official titles. They are:

  • Dota2 (PC)
  • StarCraft (PC)
  • Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (Smartphones)
  • Arena Of Valor (Smartphones)
  • Tekken 7 (Sony PlayStation / Microsoft Xbox)

 

SEA Games 2019 And Malaysian Gamers

Malaysian gamers from all backgrounds and ages are called upon to support the national eSports team that will represent Malaysia.

Razer will run a contest where gamers will vote for their favourite players and stand a chance to win prizes worth up to RM 10,000!

 

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Steam Stealer Targets Thousands Of Gamer Accounts

15 March 2016 – In an industry worth over an estimated hundred billion US dollars, gaming is not just big business for developers and manufacturers, but for cybercriminals too. Steam Stealer is a constantly evolving breed of malware that is responsible for hijacking the user accounts of the popular gaming platform, Steam.

The malware’s goal is to steal online gaming items and user account credentials, and then resell them on the black market. It is distributed to cybercriminals under a malware-as-a-service business model with an extremely low entry price of up to $30 USD.


Steam is one of the most popular entertainment multi-OS distribution platforms. Owned by Valve, it has over 100 million registered users and several thousand games available for download worldwide. Its popularity makes it a large and attractive target for fraudster groups, who can sell Steam user credentials for $15 USD on the black market. According to recently published official Steam data, 77,000 Steam accounts are hijacked and pillaged every month.

According to Kaspersky Lab researcher Santiago Pontiroli and his independent research colleague Bart P., a new breed of malware known as Steam Stealer is the prime suspect in the pilfering of numerous user accounts from Valve’s flagship platform. The duo believes the malware was originally developed by Russian-speaking cybercriminals; they have found many language traces in several underground malware forums to suggest this.
Steam Stealer works in a malware-as-a-service business model: it is available for sale in different versions, with distinct features, free upgrades, user manuals, custom advice for distribution, and more.

When it comes to these types of malicious campaigns the usual starting price for “solutions” is in the range of $500 USD. However, Steam Stealers have a ludicrously low price, being commonly sold for no more than $30 USD. This makes the malware highly attractive for wannabe cybercriminals all around the world.

The propagation of Steam Stealers is mainly, but not solely, done either via fake cloned websites distributing the malware, or through a social engineering approach, where the victim is targeted with direct messages.
Once the malware is in the user’s system it steals the entire set of Steam configuration files. Once this is done it locates the specific Steam KeyValue file that contains user credentials, as well as the information that maintains a user’s session. When cybercriminals have obtained this information, they can control the user’s account.

Stealing gamer accounts was once a resource-light way for script kiddies to make a quick profit, by selling them on underground forums. Now however, criminals have realized the true market value of these accounts. The opportunities now lie in stealing and selling user gaming items that may be worth thousands of dollars. Organized cybercriminals simply don’t want to leave that money on the table.

[adrotate banner=”4″]Kaspersky Lab experts have discovered nearly 1200 samples of different Steam Stealer maleware that have been attacking tens of thousands of users around the world, especially in Russia and other Eastern European countries, where Steam’s platform is extremely popular.

“The gaming community has become a highly desirable target for cybercriminals. There has been a clear evolution in the techniques used for infection and propagation, as well as the growing complexity of the malware itself, which has led to an increase in this type of activity. With gaming consoles adding more powerful components and the Internet of Things on our doorstep, this scenario looks like one that will continue to play out and become more complex. At Kaspersky Lab, we hope that our research will develop into an ongoing investigation, bringing a much-needed balance to the gaming ecosystem. Security should not be something developers think about afterwards but at an early stage of the game development process. We believe that cross-industry cooperation can help to improve this situation,” comments Santiago Pontiroli, Global Research & Analysis Team, Kaspersky Lab.

Kaspersky Lab products detects Steam Stealer trojan groups as : Trojan.Downloader.Msil.Steamilik; Trojan.Msil.Steamilik; Trojan-psw.Msil.Steam amongst others. Targets of these trojans are largely spread around the globe with Russia, the US, Europe (France and Germany), India and Brazil, leading the way.

To stay safe, users need an up-to-date security solution so they can enjoy their favourite games without the fear of being exploited. Most security products have a “gaming mode”, so that users can enjoy their games without getting any notifications until the end of their session. In a bid to help its own users stay safe, Steam also offers several security measures to protect accounts and increase the difficulty for hijacking mechanisms.

 

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