Streaming has redefined how we consume content. The days where we have to be drip-fed episode after episode over a long period are quickly going. The convenience of having a whole season to watch has made it easier for users to consume tv shows at their own pace. As convenient as these services are they are yet another way that hackers can swoop in and access your private information.
A report by Kaspersky has revealed that 5 577 users on the five major streaming platforms Hulu, Disney Plus, Apple TV, and Amazon Prime were exposed to various threats:
- Amazon Prime – 214
- Netflix – 5 103
- Hulu – 256
- Disney Plus – 28
- Apple TV – 0
The analysis by Kaspersky researcher covered a period from January 2019 to the 8th of April 2020. The threats observed during that time included phishing attacks for account credentials and financial information, the hackers also used the names of the platforms and shows as a lure to download malware and adware.
Netflix was the hardest hit out of all of the streaming services with a recorded 23 936 attempts on users. Looking at the shows that were used as lures most of them are Netflix Original shows. However, the show most commonly used by hackers was Disney’s The Mandalorian.
- The Mandalorian (Disney +)
- Stranger Things (Netflix)
- The Witcher (Netflix)
- Sex Education (Netflix)
- Orange Is the New Black (Netflix)
It’s easy to see why The Mandalorian was targetted, Star Wars has a very large fanbase and that was one of the hooks for people to try out Disney Plus. Netflix being the most widely used streaming service makes it a prime target.
The most frequently encountered and most dangerous attacks that affected both platforms and shows were Trojans.
“These types of malicious files allow cybercriminals to do everything from deleting and blocking data to interrupting the performance of the computer. Some of the Trojans distributed were Spy Trojans—particularly dangerous malicious files that track the users’ actions on the infected device. With spyware, users are susceptible to having their personal files and photos collected, as well as login and password information for their financial accounts.”Kaspersky
Ways that can help you bolster security
Hackers are taking advantage of the pandemic to broaden their range of potential victims. Here are some of the ways that can help protect your streaming service account:
- Do not download any unofficial versions of any streaming service, and access your streaming service through their official app or website.
- Increasing the strength of your password by using uppercase, lowercase letter and different characters
- Use different passwords for other services linked to your streaming account
- It is also good to use password managers like LastPass, Bitwarden or Dashlane to manage your passwords.
- If you are on mobile or you are using a computer make sure you sign out properly. Active accounts left idle are usually more vulnerable.
- Take note of any unusual activity on your account. Check the recently watched tab to see if there are any shows that are out of the ordinary.
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