With the increased entertainment content from the thousands of streaming apps, cybercriminals have found greener pastures. They are sharpening their skills every day to steal information, especially from well-established apps such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and the rest.
The streaming business continues to boom, and even with geo-restrictions, streamers can get access to the content. For instance, there would be no restrictions for anyone who wants to watch Disney+ Hotstar in the USA. You only need to subscribe to a VPN.
Unfortunately, cybercriminals have gone to the extent of exploiting the VPN components, and streamers are left exposed to Phishing, malware, or spyware attacks. But if you’re using a reliable VPN, this should not be an issue of concern.
But the fact remains the probability of having your sensitive information exposed and losing some critical assets is high when you get online.
There are many cybersecurity risks you should be careful of as you stream. And as you become a movie buff, someone could be waiting to take advantage of you, learn how;
1. Phishing attacks
To simply put phishing is an internet fraud where cybercriminals steal data. For instance, if an attacker wants to steal login credentials of a streamer, they lure streamers to open a link that resembles a streaming platform, a link that directs one to a malicious website, or even a fraudulent email. According to researchers, phishing is one major risk that has been a threat to Netflix streamers.
When the streamer logs in, the attacker request sensitive information such as password, ID, credit card details, or any other billing information; any other account linked with your information gets hacked within no time.
It’s next to impossible for most streamers to know about phishing scams. To stay secure, you can install an anti-phishing toolbar or antivirus software, use firewalls and always verify the sites’ security
2. Platform hacks
Streaming apps have been a target to cybercriminals, especially those that offer illegal pirated content. And since most viewers want to view movies and shows without any subscription, they download such apps for free content.
As they do so, they also download malware without knowing. The malicious software then infects other devices that can expose your personal information. That’s the reason it’s advisable to use a reliable streaming platform.
3. Identity theft
Identity theft has emerged as one of the main serious threats to streaming apps. Virtually everyone uses one email for all of their accounts. Streamers have their accounts compromised.
Interestingly, you will find millennials sharing their passwords, or others could even share such passwords in their household without caring much about online theft. This is common when people are streaming simultaneously. You may think you are saving money, but this will, in turn, become a disaster.
A good example that had to deal with identity theft is Disney Plus. Within a week after its launch, thousands of its accounts were hacked and sold.
Despite warnings, people still continue to reuse their passwords which could be a door to more problems.
Towards the end of June 2021, Kaspersky had already detected around 93,000 infections from the top streaming apps. They targeted the original shows with lots of fans, such as Money Heist, to spread their malicious acts. Streamers have an increased appetite to get their favorites; the same way cyber criminals have their schemes tailored towards getting the most from them.
For those who love playing online games, you may find fake games installed or even other programmed content promising to allow you to stream or play such games for free. These games may initially be copied illegally. But actually, these are hackers trying to steal your information. To stay safe from malware, you can ensure your antivirus software is updated now and then.
5. Credential stuffing
Cybercriminals have recently embraced credential stuffing. They use a list of compromised viewers’ credentials to gain access to user accounts. It is common for viewers to reuse their passwords or emails, and if the information is exposed, this gives the hackers an easier time to log into their account; this is referred to as a brute force attack.
According to research, streaming apps have been a top target of credential stuffing, with significant attempts happening around 2018. In 2018, there were three credential stuffing attacks on streaming apps. It was evident that the cybercriminals could have been testing the credential before getting them to the market to attempt logins.
Unfortunately, this type of attack has been responsible for cases in large financial institutions. Therefore it would pay to keep safe. You should have unique passwords for your accounts, also ensure to update the operating systems or use multi-factor authentication.
The pandemic hit brought in more desperation for fresh entertainment. And the content providers have made it happen, with the number of originals, popular shows, movies, documentaries, among others. While this is fun, every one streaming should be aware of the above risks.
Prevention is better than cure!
Next time you sit on your couch to watch your favorite movie, take some time to keep safe; you can change passwords or ensure you’re subscribed to verifiable emails. Again, avoid clicking suspicious links. And if need be, use a reliable VPN and avoid providing your information to unreliable platforms.