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“Netflix’s precautionary measure” – Netflix urges users to change passwords to enhance data protection

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Netflix users are being urged to change their passwords following a data hack from another company. This may be a precautionary measure though, and it started when Netflix found some users were using the same passwords across accounts.

This concern was further cemented with the confirmation of another company’s data being hacked and leaked. The leaked data flags up warning signs that Netflix users who are using the same passwords across accounts may have their data breached in a sort of domino effect.

Precautionary measure

As usual, it can be safely assumed that many passwords are thought to be the same for multiple online accounts, so any one breach of a popular service can easily allow criminals to access others.

The entertainment company published the potential risk to its users during its “regular security monitoring” checks. Netflix reiterates that there is no solid evidence to show that any Netflix user accounts have been hacked, and are insisting that this is a precautionary measure.

Some people believe that the precautionary measure is taken following the huge data breach of more than 500 million Yahoo users – which has now turned in to more than one billion this week. There is no evidence that is the case, but it could be a strong case to argue.

If users are likely to use the same passwords across multiple online accounts, this could give cyber-hackers an advantage. They could access other online accounts by using the same personal details retrieved from the first hack.

The amount of email addresses and passwords which match the breach of the other company’s data breach has yet to be quantified, but there could be a huge number as Netflix has around 64 million users.

Role of other companies

Other companies should perhaps take a leaf out of Netflix’s book. By regularly monitoring the security, Netflix has analysed major data breaches in the past (which could well include Yahoo’s data breach in 2014) and cross-checked them with their databases. The aim of this is to find whether users have used the same passwords across accounts. If this is found to be the case, Netflix could proactively reset their users’ passwords.

Netflix’s alert was described to be their “ongoing and proactive efforts” to alert users to potential security risks.

The importance of using different passwords

As this has demonstrated, it is absolutely crucial that different passwords are used across different accounts. It may be a convenient option to reuse the same passwords, but that could have disastrous consequences if a cyber-hacker has access to that password.

Cybersecurity experts recommend using different passwords by using a password generator. Of course, it’s the responsibility of companies and organisations to do their best to prevent data breaches, but you can help to protect yourself from potential cyber-hacks by using multiple passwords.

Conclusion

Netflix’s actions have shown that it’s better to be ‘safe than sorry’, as several companies have suffered from huge data breaches like Yahoo, TalkTalk and Myspace in the last few years. It goes to show that cyber-criminals will do anything in their power to hack large companies in the hope that they will retrieve thousands or millions of pieces of private data.

There is an upward trend of data breaches, so with this in mind, people and organisations should be vigilant and proactive in an aim to combat data breaches. Netflix has demonstrated a way to keep their users’ data secure; now other organisations must follow suit.

IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.

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First published by Matthew on December 20, 2016
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