It seems no major company is safe from security breaches. Target, Anthem, and Hilton Hotels all recently suffered cyber attacks from hackers looking for customer information. Now it seems the hackers have targeted the popular streaming platform Netflix and are making a profit selling user login information.
The most recent reports suggest hackers are targeting Netflix users in Tampa Bay, Florida. According to WFLA, the Netflix hackers seem to be most interested in selling login information to people who want to stream movies and shows from a stranger’s account. While they do have to pay the hackers a one-time fee for the login details, the person can then stream unlimited content for free. At least until the legitimate Netflix user realizes something is wrong.
That’s what happened to Andrew Solum, a Netflix subscriber from Sarasota. While using his Netflix service one day, he noticed that a stranger had been watching movies from his account.
“Someone named ‘Lorene’ had created a user profile,” he said. “And I’m thinking that’s really strange because I don’t know anyone named Lorene. She watched some kids shows, some dramas, some TV shows.”
According to KXAN, the hackers targeting Netflix users could be making a lot of money off of this scheme. While it may not be quite as malicious as some cyber attacks that threaten to steal your identity, there’s no guarantee what a hacker will do with a Netflix user’s personal information. Even if it’s just to allow a stranger to stream from your account, there’s still a major breach of privacy. Nobody wants criminals to take advantage of their hard-earned money.
“[Netflix subscriptions are] about $100 to $150 bucks a year, so they could sell it for 50 percent off. And they’re still making a lot of money by selling your account,” said Sri Sridharan from the Florida Center for Cybersecurity.
In addition to a username and password, hackers targeting Netflix subscribers can also gain access to personal email addresses and even partial credit card numbers. Netflix does hide most of the credit card number, but Sridharan claims the hackers can use the partial number to trick subscribers into revealing much more private information. For example, a hacker can send phony emails to Netflix instructing them to “update their account information.” A partial credit card number makes the email seem authentic enough to dupe a Netflix user into providing more personal information, including the rest of the number.
Time recently published an article that reveals a simple way to determine if a stranger is streaming from your account. Once you access your Netflix account, check the “Continue Watching” section. If there are a bunch of shows and movies in your queue that you never watched or don’t recognize, this could be the streaming history of a person who purchased your login information from hackers.
Reports of cyber thieves targeting Netflix users have increased as the platform has gained popularity. And the recent spike in incidences in Tampa Bay, Florida, suggests the situation isn’t getting any better. If you suspect someone is accessing your account illegitimately, the simplest fix is logging out and changing your password. But it’s not always easy to detect. Andrew Solum claims he only noticed a person named “Lorene” was streaming from his subscription because she shamelessly created a new Netflix profile.
“They could have just watched under my user profile and I probably wouldn’t have known,” he said.
Netflix also has a help page dedicated to suspicions of a stranger using your account.
Have you had any run-ins with hackers targeting your Netflix account? Leave a comment below.
[Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images]