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Keywords: Valve, Steam, Information Disclosure, DNS
DBSA ID: 2014-0003
Regarding: Valve Anti-Cheat System (VAC) Scans Windows DNS Caches
Date: 2014 02 17
Last Modified: 20140217104740 by Kradorex Xeron
Who should take note: All Steam Users
Rationale: Information is disclosed to a remote party without user awareness
Rationale: Information submitted is hashed prior to submission
Spread of Issue: SINGLE-PLATFORM MODERATE
Rationale: There are many users of the Steam game software platform under Windows
Steam is a game software platform developed and published by the Valve Corporation that is capable of playing multiple games through a single common platform. Recently there was a disclosure that the Valve Anti-Cheat System (VAC) acquires the content of the Windows DNS cache and processes each entry sequentially. Each entry is hashed and submitted to Valve-controlled servers likely for the purpose of checking to ensure cheats or malicious websites are not being utilized to tamper with the platform. Notwithstanding the hashing, this has the effect of disclosing information about what websites are visited and possibly provides a method of statistical analysis of those visitations.
The hashing algorithm utilized is md5.
Despite the fact this mechanism may have legitimate purpose, this is an uninformed information disclosure and should be approached with caution as any potential for disclosure.
If there are confidential or other similar websites that you have recently visited, to prevent potential disclosure of the number of websites you visit or potentially associating yourself with others that visit those sites, it is advised to clear your DNS cache prior to starting the Valve software:
Under Windows XP:
Under Windows Vista/7:
Under Windows 8/8.1: