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Why sharing streaming services is a terrible idea
© Daniel Constante |
TV & streaming

Why it’s a really bad idea to keep sharing your streaming passwords

Netflix might be the king of streaming, but a company doesn’t stay on top by giving its service away for free. To deter cord-cutters from sharing account login details, Netflix is testing an extra $2 charge for those caught doing it.

If the test is successful in Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru, it might be headed to the U.S. If you don’t want to pay the $2 surcharge, it’s a compelling reason to stop sharing your details.

But an extra fee isn’t the only reason you shouldn’t share streaming services. Keep reading to find out why it’s a terrible idea.

Here’s the backstory

Humans are terrible at coming up with strong passwords and even worse at using unique ones for each service. As a result, millions of people use the same password for everything from Gmail and Facebook to banking apps and online shopping.

According to Beyond Identity, many people use the same password for all their streaming platforms. So, by sharing your streaming subscription with family or friends, you likely handed over the details of other accounts.

Around 67% of people use the same password for other streaming sites, 43% use the same password for social media, and 12% use identical login credentials for online banking.

Streaming passwords
Credit: Beyond Identity

And that is only the start of it. Beyond Identity surveyed 1,000 Americans about their streaming habits and password sharing, and unsurprisingly, almost 30% said their financial information got compromised.

The services most shared

Netflix has just over 220 million users, and the service is the most shared with others. Of the 1,000 respondents in the survey, 84% said that someone else also has access to their subscription.

Almost 60% of users share their Hulu account, while just over half share their subscription to Disney+ with someone else. The least shared streaming platform is HBO Max, as only 46% of people said someone else could access it.

Streaming password sharing
Credit: Beyond Identity

Beyond Identity said, “Disney+ had the most disproportionate moocher to subscriber ratio with eight moochers for every three subscribers.” On average, Netflix, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime users only shared account details with two other people.

The risks of subscription sharing

It should be clear that sharing your streaming details with others is a bad idea. You don’t control how others use your credentials or whether they share them with someone else. In the report, Beyond Identity said 46% of people had their passwords shared without their knowledge.

Streaming password sharing
Credit: Beyond Identity

Shockingly, a third of users had their password changed without knowing about it, and just under 30% said a stranger had their password.

This is especially problematic, as anyone with your streaming logins can view your banking information on the streaming sites. As the 15% found out who had someone gain access to and use their banking information.

What you can do about it

Even if 48% of the surveyed people indicated that they share passwords with people who live with them, it still places them at risk. The most effective way to kick moochers off your account is to change the password and not share it again. Here are more safety tips:

  • Some streaming platforms let you sign out on other devices through the dashboard. If you are afraid of confrontation, this might be an option.
  • To protect your information from misuse, set up two-factor authentication for every service that offers it. This prevents others from logging in if they don’t have access to your mobile device.
  • Use complex and strong passwords that can’t be easily guessed. A great way to create and remember them is to use a password manager. Tap or click here for more details.

Keep reading

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Scammers are impersonating Netflix, Disney+ and other streaming services – Red flags to watch for

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