Beware of DiRT-cheap activation codes

Three million Steam keys for DiRT 3 have been liberated from AMD4u and released into the wild. The keys were intended for game bundles associated with AMD graphics cards, but hackers reportedly managed to gain access to them with a simple exploit. Huge lists of activation codes are already making the rounds in the dark corners of the web.

The Steam keys might not work for long, though. AMD is working with both Codemasters and Valve to resolve the issue, and it seems likely they'll be able to invalidate all the codes that have been compromised. What happens to folks who have used the codes to download DiRT 3 remains to be seen.

To put things into perspective, VG Chartz reports that DiRT 2 sold less than two million copies on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii combined. Sales figures aren't available for the PC version (Valve tends to keep Steam numbers to itself), which is likely to have been more popular thanks to all the download codes that AMD offered for DiRT 3's predecessor. I can't help but wonder how many folks actually bought the game on the PC as opposed to getting a free copy with their graphics card.

AMD is quick to point out that the codes were pilfered from a third-party site, and that neither its servers nor those at Codemasters were compromised. You probably want to be wary of anyone selling discounted activation codes on eBay, but it doesn't look like there's anything else to worry about. I suppose this gives all new meaning to Riding DiRTy.

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