Netflix the new target for cybercriminals says Symantec

Forget worrying if you own a smartphone or a computer, because if you have a Netflix account, you’re about to be targeted by online scammers.

Ever since Netflix launched in Australia last year, consumers have been eating it up, getting their television and movie fix from a legal source without parting ways with too much cash, and now that Netflix has officially gone global, everyone around the world can partake.

Unfortunately, a few bad eggs seem intent on taking advantage of our love for Netflix with attacks aimed at tricking people into passing real bank details for fake Netflix accounts, and it’s all bad news.

Symantec has released research on the area recently which highlights two of the methods criminals are using to do this, and getting around them is going to require a bit of common sense.

The first comes from a form of malware that goes after your bank details, something far more lucrative than Netflix accounts, with the security exploit being downloaded to a computer when you have been tricked into fake ads about cheap or even free Netflix.

Symantec’s second observed attack comes from phishing whereby a user is sent to a fake Netflix website and tricked into typing their login details and credit card information, similar to the sort of scam websites perpetrated all the time for banks and eBay.

While both are pretty severe as far as scams go, the second seems to be one of the scariest, especially since fake websites can be very convincing. Symantec even suggests emails are being made to trick people to go to these sites, with one such email appearing in Denmark used to convince people that their monthly payment details need to be updated and to follow the link.

The email, however, is just a scam and is likely sent to everyone the criminals can find, not just a database of Netflix customers, which they certainly do not have access to.

A scam sent to the people of Denmark. Credit: Symantec
A scam sent to the people of Denmark. Credit: Symantec

Banking and credit details are just the tip of the iceberg, though, with Netflix account details also sold to make money, giving someone access to your account if your account name and password ever become information known to someone other than yourself, such as someone trying to sell access on the black market.

Fortunately, you can at least do what you can to keep scammers out of your Netflix account, and indeed any other account you don’t want being leaked or broken into, and a security solution is a vital part of this.

That’s something everyone should have as it will at least help ward off malware and other issues, but better approaches to online security helps, also.

“To avoid these threats, Symantec recommends Australians always use strong and unique passwords, be wary of unsolicited emails and check their recent activity on Netflix,” said Mark Gorrie, Symantec’s Director of Norton in the Pacific Region.

“One way cybercriminals gain access to people’s Netflix accounts is by ‘phishing’, sending emails that look like they’re from Netflix but really aren’t. The emails have a link that takes you to a site the thieves have set up that records your account information. Be on the lookout for unsolicited emails that offer deals, like free months of service or reduced rates.”

On the plus side, Gorrie did tell GadgetGuy that “no accounts in Australia have yet been compromised” which at least is a positive, but he added that “Symantec does see Australia as a target market for these criminals”.