According to Statista.com, Netflix had 207.64 million paid subscribers worldwide as of the first quarter of 2021. Recent statistics have found that over half of Netflix subscribers share their accounts with either a friend, family member or other relatives. This can become problematic for Netflix and its paying users. In this article, we will explore further the risks of sharing subscription passwords and how Netflix is responding to this issue.
What’s the cost for ‘taking one for the team’?
Sharing passwords with others is risky at the best of times. When you share a Netflix password with a friend, there’s no knowing whether they share your password with someone else and so on. This causes a problem. Numerous unknown devices connected to your account!
You also have no control over what other people do on their devices. Someone with your credentials could accidentally click on a phishing link and provide cybercriminals with your account details.
A technique cybercriminals use is called credential stuffing. This is when a cybercriminal tries your password in as many accounts as they can with different variations, trying to crack your password. This is another reason to never reuse passwords or recycle old passwords.
There are two possible solutions to ensure that only the paying account owner and its household are the only people using the account. These are two factor authentication and biometrics.
Two Factor Authentication
Two factor authentication is a great method to ensure that the person using the account is who they say they are. The owner of the account may lock out long lost friends that may be too embarrassed to ask for a code to get back into the account. This doesn’t solve the problem completely though. As friends and relatives can simply ask the account owner for the code so they can continue to watch their shows! There is a disadvantage for two factor authentication, as whoever has access to the device can grant access.
For Netflix to achieve their goal of having only account owners and their household access their accounts. Biometrics is the most effective solution. Using voice and face ID, account owners won’t have the hassle of remembering a password or updating it. This will eliminate the problem of friends of friends having access to the account owner’s password, as they cannot use someone else’s voice or face ID.
Netflix’s password crackdown has left some suspicious as to whether this is about privacy or profit. By making it harder to share accounts, people using others accounts, are forced to set up their own account (as so they should have from the beginning).
In the long run, creating multifactor authentication or using biometrics, will be great to protect Netflix’s paying account owners. It will reduce the risk of the account owners password being shared to others that they don’t know, and reduce the risk of their credentials being stolen.