Despite increasing competition from Amazon, Hulu, Disney, Apple, NBC, and others, Netflix continues to be the default streaming service of choice for most viewers. One major factor that has led to Netflix’s popularity is password sharing. Password sharing has brought Netflix into almost every household — even those that don’t pay for the service.
Though, Netflix says they’re going to crack down on unauthorized password use, which is a benefit for most of us who are addicted to the video service. Sure, you might not mind if a housemate or family member uses your account, especially if you’ve foolishly left yourself logged in on their device. As long as you have enough available streams to not get booted in the middle of your own marathon, and as long as they don’t know the password or share it, what’s the harm?
But what if someone else is using your Netflix account without your permission? How do you even know, and more importantly, how can you get them to stop? Nobody wants strangers taking advantage of them and potentially accessing sensitive personal information.
If you’re worried about someone accessing your Netflix account without permission, we’re here to help. This tutorial is going to show you how to check if someone else is using your Netflix account and what to do about it if they are.
Netflix is sociable by nature. Accounts include multiple concurrent streams so families or friends can binge watch their own favorites, all at once without having to endure each other’s judgment and spoilers. Having your account hacked or otherwise compromised is something completely different. It’s a terrible feeling to have your web security compromised, so let’s put a stop to it right now with this handy guide!
How to Check if Someone Else is Using Your Netflix Account
First things first: how do you know whether or not someone is using your Netflix account without permission?
If you’re seeing ‘Continue watching…’ for shows you have never seen or see the ‘No more streams available’ message, something could be up.
Naturally, there could be a reasonable explanation for this. Maybe you left your account logged in and your little brother went on a cartoon spree. Maybe your cat got a hold of your remote, and in batting it around, managed to watch half a season of a terrible reality show. No problem.
Sometimes, though, someone may have hacked into your entire account or gotten your password from someone else without your permission. Netflix team members are well aware of the potential for accounts being compromised, so the service provides a simple tool to show you exactly what has been going on with your account.
Here’s how to check:
- Log into Netflix and select your account icon in the top right.
- Select Account and scroll to My Profile.
- Select Viewing Activity and check what has been watched and when.
- Navigate back to your Account screen.
- Select Recent Device Streaming Activity within Settings.
Recent Device Streaming Activity should show you what device was used, including Web Browsers, Smart TV, and phone apps. The listings will also include the device IP address, location, time, and date at which the unknown device accessed your Netflix account.\
Check through this to identify any entries you don’t recognize. If there is an entry here that you don’t recognize or cannot identify, someone else may be using your Netflix account. For example, if you live in California and see that someone logged into your account from Wisconsin, chances are your account has been compromised.
If you recognize the device or IP address as someone you know but who shouldn’t be using your account, a conversation may be in order. Otherwise, just kick them out of your Netflix account and lock it down.
Securing Your Netflix Account
Once you determine that someone else is using your Netflix account without permission, it’s important that you take the steps to kick them off and secure your account.
Securing your Netflix account takes a little coordination, but as long as you can use tabbed browsing, it takes less than a minute. One tab will open up your Netflix account and line up a password change, while a different tab will kick all devices out of your account and implement the password change before those devices can log back in.
While this is the most thorough way to ensure Netflix security, doing things this way prevents someone who is using your account at the time from logging back in before your password change finishes saving. It’s a small thing but can make a big difference. Netflix warns that it can take up to eight hours to kick all devices off your account, but generally, it works much faster.
- Log into Netflix using your desktop browser.
- Select Account and scroll to Membership & Billing.
- Select Change Password and enter your current and future passwords. Do not save them yet.
- Under Settings on the main menu, locate Sign Out of All Devices. Press the middle mouse button (Windows) on Sign Out of All Devices to open it in a new tab.
- Select Sign Out on the next page to kick everyone off your Netflix account.
- Go back to the password tab and save your password change.
This may seem like overkill, but if someone is using your Netflix account at that moment, they could theoretically log back in using the existing password before you save the change. This way, there isn’t time for anyone to log in so they should not be able to access your account.
After following these steps, your account should be secure. Be sure to check your account activity periodically to ensure no one else is using your account without your permission.
Netflix Account Security
Netflix still hasn’t implemented two-factor authentication even though they said they would eventually and have been lobbied hard by users and security experts to introduce it. Rumor has it that Netflix is going to crack down on password sharing in a “consumer-friendly” way, but there are no details into what that actually entails. In the meantime, it is down to us to come up with strong passwords and guard them closely.
One thing Netflix does is actively monitor the internet for cracked accounts, lists of Netflix accounts for sale and the like. So while we are still waiting for 2FA, it isn’t as if the company does nothing.
I always advocate using a passphrase rather than just a password. A collection of words, a sentence, the title of your favorite movie or song, or something else. The more complicated you can make your password, the more secure it will be. A passphrase won’t be immune to a dictionary attack but it will take a whole lot longer than a single word to crack.
If you’re worried that someone is using your Netflix account, simply follow these quick steps to review your account details and lock your account down if you need to. I hope it helps!