Chances are that you’ve shared your Netflix account with someone else, or maybe you’ve been the recipient of a shared Netflix password. And while this is convenient and a handy way to save money, sharing your Netflix password is a risky move from a security standpoint.
Let’s consider some of the security risks of sharing your Netflix password so you can make an informed decision about whether to do this.
1. It Increases Your Password Theft Risk
No matter who you share your password with, the act of sharing increases the risk of the password being compromised. Because you now have two (or more, if you share it with multiple people) people using the password, the attack surface is wider.
For example, if someone who uses your Netflix password falls for a phishing email and enters your password into the phony site, they’ve exposed your password. Now your password is in the hands of thieves, even though it wasn’t you who fell for a scam.
This isn’t the only way attackers could steal a Netflix password from someone else. Perhaps you give your password to someone who unknowingly has a keylogger on your computer, or enters it on an insecure network. This will leak your Netflix credentials—again because of the other person and not you.
It’s difficult to police everything else someone does with your password. When kept to yourself, you don’t have to worry about someone else exposing it.
2. It’s Dangerous If You Use That Password Elsewhere
Even though it’s one of the worst password mistakes, many people continue to use the same password on multiple websites. The risk of this is that if the password is exposed in a breach of one website, anyone who finds it will try the password on other sites using your email address. And if you’ve used it on sensitive accounts like your bank and email, you’re in for a lot of trouble.
Combined with the increased vulnerability explained above, sharing your Netflix password when it’s the same as your bank or other passwords is a terrible idea. What if the person you shared the password with knows your email and gets curious about the other places where you’ve used that password?
Hopefully trustworthy people won’t do this, and you can negate a lot of the risk by using a unique password everywhere. But it’s an increased threat if you’re already following this irresponsible practice.
3. They Could Share Your Password With Others
If you share your Netflix password with someone else, what’s stopping them from passing it onto another person? Maybe you have a Premium plan and can watch Netflix on four screens at once, or perhaps your friend works out a deal with their roommate where they take turns using your account.
You could feel perfectly fine about sharing your password with one other person, but that individual could pass your password onto several other people without your knowledge. This further increases the risk of that password becoming compromised.
4. You Could Get Locked Out of Your Own Account
When you give someone your Netflix password, you’re not just allowing them to watch content on your dime. You’re also giving them the keys to your whole account.
Using your current password, someone else could go to your account settings and change your Netflix password to whatever they wanted. Ticking a checkbox during this process boots all current users out of the Netflix account and requires them to enter the new password. If they did this, you would be locked out of your own profile.
Thankfully, someone with your Netflix password can’t change the email associated with your account. To do this, you’ll have to confirm your payment information or enter a code sent your current email address. This means that you can still reset your password using a link in a message sent to your email address, thus defeating the other person’s efforts.
That is, of course, as long as your email password isn’t the same as the Netflix password you gave them.
5. It’s Technically Against the Rules
In early 2021, Netflix started warning people about password sharing, displaying a message that warned about using an account owned by someone you don’t live with. This led many people to wonder whether Netflix might start cracking down on password sharing.
Netflix’s terms and conditions do state that you aren’t supposed to share your account with anyone outside your household. However, the company has taken a famously lax approach to this, going so far as to speak approvingly of the practice in the past.
You most likely won’t get in serious trouble for sharing your Netflix password. However, password sharing is technically illegal under a couple of laws. The state of Tennessee has a law that makes sharing passwords for media services illegal. And the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, enacted in 1986, could be interpreted to say that sharing passwords is a crime.
It’s very unlikely that either Netflix or the federal government would take any action against someone for password sharing. But it’s another mark against the practice if you’re at all worried about something like this.
Considerations When Sharing Your Netflix Password
What if you’ve read the above, understand the risks, and still want to share Netflix passwords? There are a couple of important considerations to derive from what we’ve discussed.
First is that you should make your Netflix password unique. Don’t set it as the same password that you use anywhere else. This will limit the fallout if the password is exposed in any way. We strongly recommend using a password manager to generate and store secure passwords, if you don’t already.
You should only share the password with someone you absolutely trust, like your spouse or a sibling. If you ever have a falling out with the person, you should immediately change any passwords that you shared with them.
It’s important to also consider the method you use to share your password. If you write it down on a piece of paper, the recipient can keep that paper, leading to some of the problems mentioned earlier. If possible, it’s best to enter the password yourself on their device. That way, they can enjoy your account without knowing your password.
Finally, you shouldn’t share your password over an insecure medium like email, where it could be stolen in transmission. See how to safely share passwords with others for the most secure methods.
Consider Your Safety When Password Sharing
We’ve looked at the risks of sharing a Netflix password. Keep them in mind next time someone wants to use your Netflix account. There’s nothing wrong with denying the request to keep yourself safe.
And don’t forget that many of these same risks apply to sharing other passwords, too.
Image Credit: Top_CNX/Shutterstock
5 Security Risks of Sharing Your Netflix Password