Netflix Clamps Down on Password Sharing

Christina Kingan ’23
EE Staff Writer

Netflix has been beginning to introduce a new Two-Factor Authentication feature in order to keep accounts safe and attempt to diminish the amount of unpaid users borrowing friends’ passwords, according to a recent article from the University of Houston’s Cougar newspaper.

Two-factor authentication is where there are two barriers of security. There are many different types of authentication like passwords which are most commonly used. To have two-factors means on top of a password another form of security is implemented. For example a user might be asked a sensitive question only they would know the answer to in order to further verify their identity. Another form of authentication is the use of biometrics. This includes fingerprints, face, and eye scans that are original to the owner and unable to be reproduced. 

Netflix has created a messaging system where a notification will appear on the user’s Netflix account stating “If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching.” After the user views this, they receive a notification via text or email containing a code which they have to input in order to continue watching. 

Many users have been sharing their account passwords with close peers so that they as well can access Netflix’s products without a paid subscription. This new factor makes it much more difficult for this to occur, resulting in many customers getting agitated this “hack” will be blocked. 

However Netflix has responded and stated this is strictly for security reasons. As users give away their passwords, they become more prone to hackers. With their passwords being poorly protected with their careless acts, hackers can get hold of them and access their account. Many people reuse their passwords on multiple platforms allowing hackers who have obtained that one password to access more critical and important accounts. 

If a user’s password gets compromised then this two-factor authentication feature will provide another form of protection from unwanted users accessing accounts. However many have scrutinized this idea as it makes accessibility more challenging for family members and appropriate users. Many believe it is unnecessary because there already is a feature where users can log out unwanted people accessing their accounts. Some say this serves the same purpose as the new authentication system leaving it pointless and the negatives outweighing the positives. 

One of the main motives for their sudden push in making Netflix safer is so more people will subscribe. Competition is rigorous, between the growing Disney + platform and amazon prime, they need a feature that will set them above these programs. With security being one of the most prominent priorities in our world of technology, Netflix hopes this feature will be appealing to users and gain more subscribers. Along with this, the amount of unpaid subscribers will decrease and hopefully will prompt them to pay for their own subscription instead of depending on friends’ passwords

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