Most Netflix users know that the service lets multiple people use an account at the same time, and this feature is great when it allows you to use your friends account for free without inconveniencing them.
But there is one really big problem with this policy- it has inadvertently created a black market for “access” to stolen Netflix accounts. Just like the people that used to steal cable in the 1980’s, people are stealing Netflix accounts.
In a recent report by McAfee Labs it was revealed you can buy access to Netflix accounts in “Dark Web” marketplaces really easily, which can only be accessed using a special internet browser called TOR that hides your IP address. That means you can get access on the sly.
Hackers in these marketplaces are selling lifetime access to Netflix accounts to people for as little as $0.50 it has been reported. Some of these accounts purchased with stolen credit card information while others used hacked login information. Even worse, sometimes hackers don’t even sell the stolen accounts, they just dump the login credentials on the internet for people to use.
Motherboard writer Rachel Pick came face-to-face with this phenomenon recently when she noticed weird movies and TV shows showing up in her “Recently Watched” section on Netflix. She says she thought it was just a glitch in Netflix, but after reading about the black market for stolen Netflix accounts, she decided to check if hers had been hacked.
The tool she used was haveibeenpwned.com, which gives you insight to whether your personal information has been leaked onto the internet. Pick found that her family’s login info had appeared on Pastebin, a site for dumping plaintext files, in a document with the title “BunchaNetflixAccounts.”
The information from 2,400 other users had also been compromised.
While haveibeenpwned.com worked for Pick, it’s not always effective for finding out if you’ve been hacked, especially if your login is being sold on the “Dark Web.”
However there’s an easy thing you can do if you think there might even be the possibility you’ve been hacked. Netflix has a feature that allows you to force all users who are logged into your account to log out. This means everyone with the username and passwords saved gets temporarily booted. Then just go in and change your password. Make sure you choose to “log off all devices” to insure that you are securing your account.