Netflix has begun testing a feature that may offend users who are borrowing passwords from someone outside their home to purchase a subscription.
The company said that the facility is being tested with a limited number of users. This may indicate a widespread clampdown on the common practice of sharing passwords between relatives and friends to avoid paying for the popular streaming service.
“The test is designed to ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorized for it,” the company said in a statement.
Some users Started to notice Recently when he logged into a shared Netflix account and saw a message on his screen that said, “If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your account.”
To continue watching, these users were asked to either verify that it was their account by entering a code that was sent to them by text or email, or to join Netflix with their own account went. They also had the option to complete the verification process later.
A basic Netflix subscription, which allows subscribers to watch on one screen at a time, costs $ 8.99 per month. High paying customers can simultaneously watch on additional screens.
The test also appears to be more of a nudge to purchase a subscription than an iron-forged crack. For example, someone who was borrowing a password from a friend or family member might ask for a verification code that was sent by Netflix.
Michael D., professor of information technology and marketing at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh. “I don’t believe this is an all-out attack,” Smith said. “This may be a warning shot on the bow of some pirates.”
But, he said, simply reminding people that password sharing is not allowed can persuade some people to buy a membership, rather than being paid by their friends or relatives.
“Even the slightest indication that theft is not acceptable can change people’s behavior,” he said.
Netflix viewership grew rapidly during the coronovirus epidemic as a test.
company In January it said it had added 8.5 million subscribers In the fourth quarter, for a total of 203.6 Million paying customers by the end of 2020. The company has approximately 66 million customers in the United States and is projected to add six million total customers in the first three months of this year.
Netflix previously indicated that it was looking at ways to prevent password sharing. Gregory K., the company’s chief product officer. Peters said during A call In October 2019, to review the company’s earnings, Netflix was “watching the situation.”
Mr. Peters said, “We will, again, pursue consumer-friendly methods that there are no major plans to announce at this point.”
Professor Smith said the company apparently loses a significant amount of revenue through people using the service, but does not pay for it.
“Sharing your password is theft, and it can be a good deal of Netflix money if people who subscribe are using their friends’ passwords, so it’s not a problem,” he said. “The real challenge for them is who is the password shark and who are the legitimate accounts.”
Beyond business concerns, users are required to enter a code that is in text or email that may also have security benefits, Laurie Faith Crane, professor of computer science and engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon.
He said that hackers could in principle change the setting of a customer’s Netflix account and start paying more to the person. They can also gain access to information that can help them break into other accounts, especially if the customer uses the same password for more than one account. “It’s a very common thing,” he said.
But the user needs to enter a code that is sent via text or email – a process known as two-factor authentication It is used by many social media and banking apps – making it difficult for attackers to enter.
“I’m not sure it’s a big benefit,” Professor Cranmer said, “but there is some benefit.”