WESTMINSTER, Colo. — A Westminster woman found out the hard way just how easy it is for hackers to jump into entertainment apps and change just about anything so they can benefit.
Sheri Strangmayer is one of the growing number of cable “cord cutters” relying on services like Hulu, Netflix and many others for entertainment.
“It’s a lot cheaper and a lot different programming. We still have our local channels through antenna,” she said.
When Strangmayer tried to log in to her Hulu and Netflix accounts last week, she got a surprise.
“My password didn’t work. They said I didn’t have an account with that email address,” she said.
Strangmayer says she contacted both companies and learned someone had hacked into her account and had a field day upgrading her status so several devices could log on at the same time.
Corporate security expert Donald McLaughlin of CP Cyber tells the FOX31 Problem Solvers many crooks are out to collect information they can sell later.
“Maybe they’re buying that account for a couple of dollars, then they upgrade,” he said.
McLaughlin says the key to protecting yourself is using a strong password, like a phrase with at least 12 characters that includes numbers, letters and different cases.
For added protection, use the app’s two-step verification feature where you receive an alert if someone is attempting to get into your account.
“You get a code sent to your phone or you need to open up the authenticator app just to get to that service,” McLaughlin said.
Strangmayer contacted the companies involved and they quickly corrected the problem, making her accounts secure. She tells FOX31 she will change her passwords on a regular basis.