We’ve all been there. You pop open Netflix and find a bunch of shows that aren’t yours in your “Continue Watching” queue.
For most of us, that means a friend or family member borrowing our password has logged into our account. But recently, there’s an increasing chance that whoever binge watched BoJack Horseman with your account isn’t someone you know. According to media reports, stolen Netflix passwords are a hot item on shadowy “dark web” markets. For less than $1, someone can buy your stolen login credentials and use your account to watch whatever they want.
So, before you grill all your friends or family over who messed up your carefully considered Netflix algorithm, use some of these methods to determine if your account has been compromised.
Scour your viewing activity
The easiest way to uncover an account leech is by keeping an eye on what your account says you’ve been watching. To do that, log into your Netflix account and select the primary profile (on the far left) for your account. Then, click on the drop-down arrow at the top left of the window and select “Your Account.” There, in the “Viewing Activity” link, you get a list of everything watched, sorted by date.
But lists can be deceiving. For instance, if an authorized viewer watched a program using one of your secondary profiles, then the show may appear unfamiliar to you. Also, at first glance, the “Viewing Activity” link doesn’t share any information about what device the show was watched on. So, it could be your mobile your tablet, your smart TV, or someone’s smart phone in Europe, and you’d be none the wiser.
Check your recent account access
On the “Viewing Activity” page, there’s another link that gives you a different, limited peek at your account’s usage. Located at the top of the show listing, the “See recent account access” link will pull open a pop-up window showing date and time, IP address and location, and device information. But it only shows the five most recent interactions with Netflix, so it’s worth checking now and again.
Watch your language
A big red flag that your account has been hacked is if the language of your interface changes. This should be pretty obvious and requires little explanation, but if this happens to you, it can be a real pain to change back, unless you happen to speak that language.
If you don’t, here’s a quick tip for changing it back. Follow the instructions above to navigate to the “My Account” page above. When you’ve opened that page, look for your name and icon. The “Language” option is the link just below.
Check to see if you’ve been “pwned”
Netflix logins aren’t the only hot credentials on the web these days. In fact, everything from Ashley Madison to Snapchat has been targeted by hackers. And if you’re the kind of person who uses the same username and password for each account (stop doing that!), then your Netflix account is at risk, even if it’s your Comcast login that got stolen.
To check and see if your logins are safe, visit Have I Been Pwned and insert your email address or username. The site will run a quick query over publicly available records to see if your information has been stolen.
If you do think your Netflix has been used by people you don’t know, there are two things you should do. First, on the Netflix “My Account” page, click on “sign out of all devices” under settings. This will give your account the boot on every device it’s ever been logged into. Secondly, change your password. Be sure not to use one that you’ve used elsewhere before, and if you can, make it a complicated mix of letters, numbers, symbols, uppercase, and lowercase. I’d suggest some good ones, but I don’t need your Netflix password — I have my own.