Netflix’s sharing policy, which allows viewers to simultaneously stream content on up to four devices at a time, is great for the two-thirds of users who share their accounts with family and friends.
It also means that people may be hitching a ride on your account with your knowing it. Hackers sell access to Netflix accounts on the black market for as little as a quarter. The unauthorized users typically go unnoticed until the account holder hits their limit on simultaneous streams.
If you find curious titles listed among your recently-watched programs, or have suspiciously reached your viewership limit, here’s how to detect where and when your account is being accessed. You can then kick off any unknown devices.
Want a better understanding Netflix and other streaming giants? Check out our guide to the streaming-TV wars
Find your plan
As detailed by Ghacks, head to “Your Account” settings by selecting the option from the drop down menu in the upper left hand corner of Netflix’s homepage. You can see how many screens your plan lets you view at once. Netflix’s standard, $7.99-a-month streaming option allows customers to simultaneously watch content on two screens. For an extra $2 a month, viewers can watch on four devices at a time.
See your viewing history
In account settings, you also can find the “Viewing activity” for each profile on a Netflix account in the “My Profile” section. That’s where you can see what’s being watched.
When you select “Viewing activity,” you’ll see a list of recently-watched programs that looks like this:
Netflix allows up to five individual profiles on a single account (But, again, only two to four devices can stream from the same account at the same time.) And the accounts page only shows details for one profile at a time—whichever one you’re logged into.
To find the activity of a different profile on the same account, go to the drop down menu in the upper right hand corner and select the profile name you want to view.
Then, repeat the previous steps to get back to viewing activity. (When the homepage for the profile loads, select “Your Account” from the drop-down menu. The current profile name should be in the “My Profile” section. And you can select “Viewing activity” again from there.)
Learn where, when, and how your account was accessed
Even if there aren’t any surprises in the viewing activities in each profile, the main account could still be hacked. Anyone with access to the account can manipulate the lists and delete things they’ve watched.
To check who is using the account, select ”See recent account access” on any viewing-activity page. This will show you the dates and times the main account was accessed, from any profile, as well as the IP addresses (blurred in the screenshot below), locations, and types of devices that were used. Aside from revealing hackers, you can also see which known devices are logged into the account, and ask someone to sign off when it hits its streaming limit.
Netflix only details the last five times an account was used. So if you see something suspicious on your account, check who’s accessing it right away.
Give hackers the boot
If you think you’ve been hacked, or just don’t recognize the devices on your account, go back to the your account settings and select “sign out of all devices.” This will disconnect every device on your account. You can change your password and re-activate your devices on the same page.