What would you say is the ultimate proof of friendship in the current era? Sharing your Netflix and Disney+ passwords, of course! But in a bid to "strengthen your friendship", you may be endangering the security of your account and inadvertently setting it up to be hacked.  

While you are thinking that you are helping your friend by sharing your password as there are countless streaming platforms out there and none of them are getting any cheaper any time soon. But if your password and account protection protocols are lax, this can prove to be a hazardous decision.

An investigation led by ZDNet had discovered that thousands of Disney+ accounts were being sold on the dark web but the company’s spokesperson denied any instances of data breach and ensured that they “continuously audit our security systems”. He also added that whenever they “find an attempted suspicious login we proactively lock the associated user account and direct the user to select a new password.” 

As per a Harris Poll research, published in October 2019 and done in partnership with Google, it was found that 22 per cent of a nationally representative sample of 3,419 U.S. adults have shared a password of a TV or movie streaming service with someone else. This widely rampant habit can be dangerous for many reasons:

1. We tend to reuse passwords for accounts

As per the poll results, it was found that at least 66 percent of respondents had used the same password for multiple accounts. This means that by sharing login credentials for a single account, they have put their other accounts’ security at risk too- which may have been what happened to the thousands of Disney+ customers.

“I think it’s generally not a great idea because you’re giving your credentials to someone else who might not have your best interest in mind when it comes to your security, so it does raise the possibility that those credentials could be lost in some way. You never know how they could be used,” said David O’Brien, a senior researcher and assistant research director for privacy and security at Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society.

“We’ve seen plenty of attacks in the past that indicate it’s often possible using multiple accounts from different services to triangulate in and get access to something you really care about,” he added.

2. Creating easy to remember passwords

The poll results also found that 59 percent used a name (their own, their partner’s, or their pet’s) or a birthday in their password- these are pieces of information that are easily accessible thus making it pretty simple for the password crackers to guess. It was also discovered that we tend to create easy passwords when we are planning to share the same with others. 

While the best solution here would be to go for two-factor authentication, platforms like Disney+ and Netflix are yet to make it available on their platforms. So, till they wake up, it is up to you to mind the security of your credentials.

And the solution is?

The right way to secure your accounts is to go for unique and randomly generated passwords for every single one of them. You can employ a password manager like 1 Password or LastPass if remembering different passwords seems like an impossible task and manage your account logins with a click.