More Than 1 in 10 People Have Had Their Streaming Account Hacked

In a world getting comfortable with the idea of social distancing (particularly in light of what the “new normal” looks like in a post-COVID-19 world), there’s one form of entertainment millions of Americans have been turning toward: streaming.

The volume of people streaming from platforms including Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube has increased so much in recent months that streaming companies have had to reduce the rendering quality of their content to keep servers from overloading. And with so much uncertainty in the world around the current health crisis, there’s no telling when social distancing or stay-at-home orders will be lifted. Even if things start to feel normal again soon, there’s a fairly high chance you’ll still have plenty of opportunities for binging the latest releases and popular shows.

But when it comes to streaming, video quality probably shouldn’t be your top concern. After surveying 1,000 users, the streaming experts at Flixed discovered that even though most consumers consider their digital security extremely important, many of their streaming behaviors could be compromising their passwords and their privacy.

Without a doubt, one of the worst security behaviors users often embody when it comes to their steaming account includes sharing their passwords. If you want to share your login information with your family and friends so they don’t have to pay for their own subscription, you might want to consider how much access to your passwords (and potential payment information) you want them to have.

Nearly 3 in 4 users with a Netflix subscription (73%) share their passwords, followed by 62% using Amazon Prime Video and 40% using Hulu. After seeing their subscriptions more than double in some parts of the world as a result of COVID-19, roughly 1 in 4 Disney+ users also confessed to sharing their password with friends and family. Overall, more than 2 in 5 users paying for a streaming subscription share at least one of their accounts (including their passwords) with someone else.

So who gets access to the login data and who gets locked out? Netflix passwords were the most commonly shared among the various streaming platforms, with 67% of people giving access to their family members and 55% giving access to their significant other. While most users keep their passwords confined to a smaller circle of friends and partners, roughly 1 in 10 Netflix users also share their passwords with their roommates.

Disney+ users (62%) were the most likely to share their passwords with their significant others and friends (20%), while YouTube TV subscribers were the most likely to share their login details with their roommates (18%).

Even though 60% of users taking advantage of someone else’s account said they would get their own logins if their access was revoked, people not paying for their own platforms reported using two accounts paid for by someone else, on average. Almost 1 in 3 people paying for their own streaming accounts have had to change their passwords to expel someone from using their login information.

With so many people sharing their streaming platform login data with everyone from family members all the way down to roommates, you might be wondering what’s stopping some people from giving away their passwords more regularly or at all.

More than half of streaming users (52%) don’t share their passwords because they’re worried about account security, followed by those worried about personal information security (40%), those who weren’t asked to share(37%), and those unwilling to give up their own streaming time (19%).

While less common, 17% of streaming users didn’t want to get content suggestions based on the viewing patterns of other people, and 12% didn’t want to lose their place in shows they were already watching.

Overall, men were over 13% more likely than women to protect their personal streaming passwords.

While the most common examples of sharing streaming account data occurred between family members and significant others, the biggest concern may not be who you choose to give your password to, but to how many other people they pass it along.

Nearly half – 46% – of people using someone else’s password to access a streaming account admitted to giving that password to someone else. Many account holders remain oblivious to this additional sharing, with 80% of users paying for accounts believing their passwords haven’t been shared outside the people they’ve directly granted access.

More concerning might be how many users invite friends and family members to use their streaming accounts but also use those same passwords for other profiles. A majority (71%) of users sharing their streaming passwords use the same login credentials for their social media accounts, followed by their personal email (46%), their computers (31%), and even their bank accounts (28%).

Considering how many people weren’t aware their family members, friends, or roommates were also passing out their streaming login data, many of these users might not know who also has the password to some of their most sensitive and important accounts.

Many users might be relying on security from the streaming platforms themselves to keep their data safe. Amazon Prime Video (71%) was perceived as the most secure, followed by Netflix (65%) and YouTube TV (46%). Users generally considered both Disney+ and Hulu (also owned by Disney) to be the least secure platforms.

Still, digital security is as much about our own actions as the platforms we entrust with our data. Nearly half (48%) of people who identified protecting their digital security as “very important” also shared their streaming passwords with other people. Another 39% of people who identified protecting their digital security as being “slightly to somewhat important” also admitted to sharing their streaming login details with other people.

Despite more than 64% of users suggesting that streaming platforms themselves were inherently secure as far as protecting their data was concerned, more than 1 in 10 have had their streaming account information hacked. Generationally, millennials were the most likely group to trust the streaming platforms to protect their data.

At the end of the day, if you care about your digital security, you have to take some responsibility for your actions online. Streaming platforms may have certain security measures in place to protect your data, but all of that is void if you don’t know who has access to your passwords.

Especially if you’re someone who uses the same passwords across multiple accounts, it’s incredibly important to monitor who has access to your login information at all times. Believe it or not, most of the people mooching off your Netflix account would be willing to pay for their own if they had to, so you might not be doing them any real favors by putting your digital security at risk.

Read next: The History And Future Of Passwords (And What’s Next) - infographic
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