The platform attacks this practice which deprives it of millions of subscribers around the world. Official reason: to limit the scope of cyber attacks. But the financial stakes are also enormous.
Who has never shared a password to share the latest Netflix series with a loved one? A practice as generous as it is illegal, which may soon become complicated. For the past few weeks, in the United States, users of the platform who share their password have seen a new message appear when they log in: “If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you will need your own account to continue watching. “
The American streaming giant is casually testing a new verification system. Objective: to reduce the number of users who benefit from the service for free thanks to the large heart of friendly subscribers. Once the message has been received, several possibilities: enter a password sent by email or SMS directly to the number or to the email address of the account holder, ask to be authenticated later, or enjoy a free version of Netflix for… thirty days.
Even though the figures for 2020 have not yet been released, the expert explains that the number of cyber attacks involving shared identifiers and associated passwords (credential stuffing) had a “Massive increase” due to confinement. Already in 2019, 20% of the 88 billion recorded cyberattacks targeted the media sector, which includes streaming services.
Undermine the hacking market
The more widespread the sharing of identifiers, the greater the risk of hacking. However, a study commissioned by video on demand site Tubi found that 42% of streaming service users in the United States shared or received access last spring. “If you use the same password for Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and YouTube Music, criminals can easily gain access to all of your accounts by hacking that of a loved one with whom you have shared your credentials. They kill two people at once, Steve Ragan continues. Netflix’s measure could seriously undermine the piracy market. Consumers should therefore perceive this test as a good thing. “
The security argument is not Netflix’s only concern, however, the financial shortfall is also one. If it were extended to the US market alone, or 74 million subscribers, out of the 200 that the platform has worldwide, analysts estimate that the authentication device under test could bring in between 2.5 and 6 billion. dollars to the platform. Faced with fierce competition from other streaming services, such as Disney +, which expanded their offer during the health crisis, Netflix could thus continue to give itself the means of its ambitions by investing up to $ 19 billion in its content in 2021, against 17 billion in 2020. For now, Netflix has not specified which other countries could be affected by the strengthening of its security measures.