Two of the biggest rules of thumb when it comes to password safety are not sharing passwords with others and using different passwords across accounts. It may not seem like a big deal to indulge in password laziness from time to time, but these lapses could end up having more drastic consequences.
In order to combat password sharing and people not paying for their own subscriptions, Netflix announced that it plans to crack down on the practice starting in 2023. According to survey results, Netflix is by far the most popular streaming service respondents share their passwords for, and the majority expressed their displeasure with having to pay for additional accounts.
In addition to being upset about Netflix’s 2023 plans, our survey of 1,250 Americans found that many are demonstrating a severe lack of security when it comes to sensitive account information.
Key findings include the following.
- Nearly 50% of people have shared passwords to their streaming services with someone else — some with as many as five to six people.
- More than half (52%) of this group also admits the passwords for their shared streaming accounts are the same or similar to their private accounts, including online banking.
- A total of 51% believe they have had a private account hacked, and half suspect it was someone they shared a streaming password with
- Of those using someone else’s Netflix account,46% would rather quit watching than pay for their own subscription.
Though it may not seem like a big deal to pass around your streaming login details, the truth is that many people use the same or similar passwords for much more important accounts — 52% percent of people who have shared a streaming password say the shared password is the same or similar to the passwords they use for their personal accounts.
Of these 52%, 78% say they use the same password for their social media accounts, 56% use the same password for their email, and 42% use the same password for their online banking.
Almost half (48%) of Americans admit to sharing their password to at least one streaming service with another person. And while the majority of this group say they share with just one or two other people, some respondents revealed that they’ve shared their password with as many as five or six others.
Most respondents say they’ve shared their passwords with family members, though close to one-third say they’ve shared passwords with friends and romantic partners. Concerningly, 26% of respondents in this group say that someone they’ve shared their streaming password with has given it to someone else without their permission.
Fifty-one percent of those who have shared a streaming password say they “strongly” (24%) or “somewhat” (27%) believe that one or more of their private accounts have been hacked. Of this group, half also “strongly” (26%) or “somewhat” (24%) believe that their private accounts were actually “hacked” by someone they shared a streaming password with.
The most commonly shared streaming service password by far is for Netflix — 68% of those who have shared a streaming password say they pay for a Netflix account, while 26% say they use someone else’s account.
Among these Netflix users, 70% say they are “very” (35%) or “somewhat” (35%) upset by Netflix’s plan to crack down on password sharing in 2023. Nearly a quarter (23%) of those who pay for a Netflix account say they will cancel their account once they can no longer share their password with others, while 22% say they are willing to pay for additional accounts.
Others say they plan to keep their account and kick the freeloaders off, writing in responses such as, “Not share my password,” “Kick the other people off my account,” and “Keep trying to share or just get the cheapest for myself.”
Of those who are currently using someone else’s Netflix account, 46% say they will stop using the service altogether, while only 34% say they are willing to start paying for their own account.
Most of us are guilty of occasional password laziness, but survey data shows that it pays to be careful. Having the same or even similar passwords for sensitive accounts and streaming services can be dangerous, even more so when you share those accounts with others. You never know who that friend of a friend may share your Netflix login details with.
*This survey was commissioned by PasswordManager.com and conducted online by the survey platform Pollfish on Oct. 26. In total, 1,250 participants in the U.S. were surveyed. All participants had to pass through quality filters to ensure reliability of data.