Tips & Advice

Stolen Netflix accounts: That’s not my viewing history!

It's necessary to take some preventative measures to provide you with the digital freedom that you deserve

Who doesn’t want to relax on the couch after a long day? For many of us, it’s a common ritual: getting comfortable on the couch and turning on Netflix (or another streaming service) and choosing our favorite series. 

Well, not for all of us. Recently, my friends and I switched on Netflix, and under “Continue Watching”, we discovered “The Witcher” – a series we’d never watched. I was annoyed and mad; someone is messing up my Netflix recommendations and profiting from my money! 

After a little investigation, I realized that someone had gained access to my account because my login details were listed somewhere on the internet. But how did this happen – and what can we do about it?

I asked Luis Corrons, Avast Security Evangelist, these questions and more.

Luis, how can somebody else get access to my streaming login details?

Your account details can land on the internet a few different ways. One is if you give away your account information to a family member, friend, or roommate, they could use it or share it around. 

Another way is through malware stealing your credentials and using them. Password-stealing malware, such as keyloggers and other Trojans, has been around even before streaming services existed. As we know, a good number of people reuse their credentials, and there are literally billions of credentials out there that have been made public, or are for sale.

Do we know why streaming service providers, like Netflix, have not addressed this problem?

Actually, Netflix has addressed the problem, and warned users last year that password sharing is forbidden, which was a new stance for the streaming provider after previously encouraging users to share their account details. Still, streaming services like Netflix are in an expansion period and keep growing. These problems are not damaging their businesses in a noticeable way and it is helping them to become more popular, gaining users who can try out and learn the value of their service. This may change and we might see security harden, forcing current freeloaders to either become a customer or stop using streaming services.

What advice do we have for customers who use such services?

To prevent it:

  • Use a password you have never used before
  • Don’t share your password with others
  • Don’t save the password in your browser
  • Make sure your devices are protected with antimalware to prevent trojans, keyloggers, etc.

If it already happened:

  • Change your password
  • Close sessions on all devices using your account
  • Follow the tips to prevent this from happening again
  • Change passwords for the rest of your accounts just in case they have also been compromised

Can users find out if their account details are shared publicly? 

Solutions that are able to monitor and warn you about credentials that have been compromised, such as Avast One, can find out if your account details have been exposed.

Even if such things happen on the internet, it should not stop you from enjoying it. It's necessary to take some preventative measures, like using antivirus software, to provide you with the freedom you deserve.