Is Your Streaming Account on the Black Market?

One weekend, I was shocked when I logged into my streaming account. I first read a message that said I was not at my home network, so I reset the location to my house. Once I did that, something really knocked me out of my socks. I found a bunch of shows saved that I didn’t nor would I ever watch. If you’ve been reading this column, you probably know some of the things I like to watch include:

  • Fishing shows and anything related to fishing
  • Cage fighting, boxing, and combat sports in general
  • Creepy, suspenseful, and somewhat offbeat movies (David Lynch, etc.)
  • Stranger Things and other unique Netflix and Amazon originals
  • The occasional documentary, if the subject matter is compelling

The shows saved in my favorites couldn’t have been farther from my usual fare. There were entire seasons of VH1’s Love & Hip Hop saved to my favorites. The only thing I know that hips and/or hops are the rabbits that devastate my wife’s vegetable garden. (Ravenous scoundrels!) Why the heck would this rap music series be saved to my favorites? I dug in deeper and found a bunch more shows and series that we would never watch, such as:

  • Future Man
  • 10 Things I Hate About You
  • The Big Sick
  • The Santa Clarita Diet
  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
  • Every Madea movie ever made

The list of horrible series and shows went on and on. So how did this utterly crappy programming end up in my saved list? My first instinct was to pick up the phone and call the only expert I know – Mr. Stuart Sweet. He would surely know what the problem is and, more importantly, how to fix it. The more I thought about it, the more I realized this would be a bad idea in the long run. My ego is still stinging after the last time I ended up on the wrong side of one of Stuart’s blogs. If I was to blame for this streaming service problem, I was certain that he’d roast me in a future post.

Instead of placing that regrettable call to California, I did some research. What I found made my blood boil. Long story short, the Buckler’s streaming service had been hacked and other people were using it. This is something that affects every streaming service, though it’s not the fault of the streaming service providers. Users being lazy about their passwords online is the key to hacking into a streaming account.

If you use the same password across several platforms, you access to everything will be compromised the moment any one of those pages gets hacked. The hackers gain access to many people’s streaming accounts and sell this access on the streets. Anyone can purchase access to your streaming account, sometimes for as little as $10. It’s quite a neat little scam they have going on, right?

It didn’t take long for me to realize that this is exactly what happened to me. I’m a creature of habit, and I tend to use the same password across any and all platforms I subscribe to. One of the websites or blogs I regularly visit – probably a fishing-related discussion board – was hacked. That’s how the bad people got my email address and password… a password that would unlock the doors to many of my accounts.

This is a scumbag move! Anyone who would steal someone’s password so they can sell access to their streaming account is a dirty, rotten, low down, no good waste who doesn’t deserve to share this planet with decent, hard-working people. Once that initial flash of anger subsided, I sent out to end this blatant thievery. I did it in two easy steps:

  1. I changed my password to a 13-character term with at least one number and symbol.
  2. I removed all the devices connected to my account except for the ones that owned by members of my family. (It felt liberating to slam the gates shut on those freeloading parasites.)

In a matter of minutes, I’d solved the problem without having to plead and beg Stuart. That’s a good thing, too. First of all, it was probably the closest I’ll ever get to having an “I am Spartacus moment.” Secondly, if I turned to Stuart, he’d write a blog post about this little misadventure. It would probably read something like this:

“Jake Buckler is a lazy idiot who uses the same password for literally EVERY account. Even so, he was still surprised when access to his streaming account was sold to multiple people with better taste in entertainment than he has. Luckily, I took pity on his wretched and miserable self and deigned to help him in his time of trouble. If he would’ve spent just five minutes on Google, he would’ve learned that all he needed to do was change his password and disconnect devices he didn’t recognize. Oh well, you live and you learn, I guess.”

You can probably imagine why I’d want to avoid all that drama!

Streamers, Change Your Passwords!

In this day and age, most of us have accounts across a variety of email, social media, and other online platforms. Using the same password for each of them will become a nightmare if just one of the sites you visit gets hacked. I got lucky since only my streaming service was compromised. While a bunch of people got to watch their favorite (yet atrocious) shows on my account, this didn’t cost me anything when you think about it. It’s still a violation, though. After this experience, Mrs. Buckler and I agreed to change the password to our streaming service every few months of so. You should, too.