A story broke out today claiming that the global version of Steam has been completely banned in China. This was proven false by the Chinese player base that made it over the firewall to report that they can access the store no problem. But the source of the rumor seems to be a targeted attack on Steam.
SteamDB twitter deleted their original post claiming that “Steam was banned in China”. They released a new one a couple of hours ago. “There are reports of Steam Store being blocked in China. Store and API subdomains appear to experience connection resets on some Akamai IPs (which is typical for the great firewall), similar to how GitHub was being blocked. Other subdomains (like partner site) work at the moment,” reads their updated report on the situation.
PlayerIGN, a Twitter user that dabbles in datamining PUBG, also released a statement. “There’s a DNS Cache Poisoning attack causing some players in China not able to access: Steam’s store page,” was his take on the situation.
DNS poisoning, more commonly known as DNS hijacking, is a tactic used by computer malware. It basically disrupts your connection to a website or redirects you to another domain. The Chinese government used this tactic in 2013 to attack GitHub. And it seems Steam is now in their target sights.
The CCP crusade against Steam has been going on for years. Steam was already subjected to another DNS hijacking back in 2017. Some Chinese ResetEra users clarify that Steam is being attacked on and off by the Chinese government all the time. The range of these attacks and methods vary. This one seems especially big. Thus a lot of people panicked and mistook it for a complete ban of Steam in China.
But the truth is that the Chinese Communist Party would love to get rid of Steam. That is why they try to block it out with such attacks. GitHub avoided a complete ban only due to widespread critique of the 2013s attacks by Chinese citizens. This attack will also face heavy backlash I imagine. So steam might be safe… for now. But at this point, it seems like only a matter of time.