Netflix has introduced trial measures to try and prevent the practice of password sharing with multiple households, it has been reported by the BBC.
In the trial, users can verify if they are eligible to access a particular account according to Netflix’s terms of service, via a code sent via text or email. In addition, a number of users have reported seeing a message come up on their screen stating: “If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching.”
The steps have been introduced to try and enforce Netflix rules which stipulate that while account holders can create multiple accounts, they should only be used by members of the same household. The BBC quoted a Netflix spokesperson who commented: “This test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorized to do so.”
It is understood that the company has not yet decided whether to rollout this approach across its network.
Evidence suggests that password sharing among friends and family for different types of accounts, such as streaming services, is a regular occurrence. This has worrying implications from a security point of view as it increases the chances of accounts being compromised and personal details accessed or stolen.
Commenting on the initiative, Jake Moore, cybersecurity specialist at ESET, said: “If I were to ask people if they share their email account password with anyone else, the vast majority would probably say ‘absolutely no chance!’…but when it comes to media services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Spotify, such password sharing is actually quite common. It may sound innocent, but when people are using the same password for their media service that they use for other accounts, it starts to become dangerous, and the risk of account compromises increases.
“We ran some research that found that over a quarter of people surveyed had willingly given away their passwords to someone else. This may not sound worrying when you know the other party with whom you are sharing the password, with but what if they pass it on to someone without thinking?
“However, it is unrealistic to expect that people are going to stop sharing their accounts completely, so my advice would be to regularly change your passwords in order to flush out anyone who has gained access over the last year who shouldn’t have. Creating complex passwords, combined with a password manager, will reduce your risk of compromise.”