The best protection against these forms of attack is stick to official channels.
You may have strangers using your Netflix account as a result of the efforts of hackers and an online black market contingent.
Thousands of active Netflix account login details are being sold on the dark web for pennies apiece, putting the legal account holders at a greater risk of serious fraud.
Research by security experts Symantec suggests that access to streaming service login credentials is made possible by sophisticated malware and phishing scams.
Hackers gain access to thousands of account details, then put the accounts up for sale on the black market for a fraction of the normal subscription price.
The dark web is not available through conventional search engines. Access to it can only be found via encryption software such as Tor, that gives users privacy and anonymity online.
Storefronts are set up offering fresh and current accounts to buyers, with the stipulation that they don’t change the login details, as this will alert the original account holder.
While some of those affected may only be alerted by some strange streaming activity on their account, for others it is a far more serious issue.
If the account holder has unwittingly downloaded a fake Netflix launcher, for example, what they are actually installing is a decoy homepage that silently downloads a program which can access information from the computer.
This Trojan can gain access to any confidential information on your computer, including banking and credit card details.
In turn, this allows hackers to sign up new accounts with services like Netflix, HBO Go and Spotify for them to sell at no personal cost.
Phishing scams have been a major issue for years, and take the form of emails that mimic the look of an official email, asking the user to log into their account.
Internet security firm, Symantec, explores cyber security in this video:
Symantec advises that the best protection against these forms of attack is to stick to official channels.
Purchase a streaming account direct from the website, and avoid sites that claim to offer accounts at a reduced monthly cost.
When viewing emails, pay close attention to the sender’s address. Tag any official emails you get as trusted sources.
If any email asks for your login details, make sure it is from a trusted source before you click anything. Sites like Netflix will only send official emails and expect you to login on their site.
Decades on, the internet is still in its relative infancy, and many consider it a wild west of sorts. Be safe out there.