MUST READ GPS inventor: We need to fix GPS's jamming problem

Thousands of hacked Disney+ accounts are already for sale on hacking forums

Hackers began hijacking accounts hours after Disney+ launched earlier this week.

Hackers didn't waste any time and have started hijacking Disney+ user accounts hours after the service launched.

Many of these accounts are now being offered for free on hacking forums, or available for sale for prices varying from $3 to $11, a ZDNet investigation has discovered.

A stream of user complaints

The Disney+ video streaming service launched this week, on November 12. The service, although being available only in the US, Canada, and the Netherlands, has already amassed more than 10 million customers in its first 24 hours.

The Disney+ launch was marred by technical issues. Many users reported being unable to stream their favorite movies and shows.

But hidden in the flood of complaints about technical issues was a smaller stream of users reporting losing access to their accounts.

Many users reported that hackers were accessing their accounts, logging them out of all devices, and then changing the account's email and password, effectively taking over the account and locking the previous owner out.

Complaints like the ones above flooded social networks like Twitter and Reddit.

Image: ZDNet

Two users who spoke with ZDNet on the condition we do not share their names admitted that they reused passwords. However, other users said online that they did not, and had used passwords unique for their Disney+ accounts.

This suggests that in some cases hackers gained access to accounts by using email and password combos leaked at other sites, while in other cases the Disney+ credentials might have been obtained from users infected with keylogging or info-stealing malware.

Up for sale!

The speed at which hackers have mobilized to monetize Disney+ accounts is astounding. Accounts were put up for sale on hacking forums within hours after the service's launch.

As of this article's writing, hacking forums have been flooded with Disney+ accounts, with ads offering access to thousands of account credentials.

Prices vary from $3 per account to as much as $11 -- which, by the way, is more than what a legitimate Disney+ account costs from Disney, which is $7.

Below are screenshots that ZDNet took of various ads, along with screenshots we received from multiple sources that helped our investigations.

Search results for Disney+ accounts on a dark web marketplace

Image: ZDNet

Ad for Disney+ accounts on a Russian language marketplace

Image: Supplied by source

Screenshot of a threat intel feed for Disney+ accounts being sold on a Russian marketplace

Image: Supplied by source

Online store selling hacked Disney+ accounts

Image: Supplied to ZDNet by Gemini Advisory

Post on a hacking forum advertising access to hacked Disney+ accounts

Image: Supplied to ZDNet by Gemini Advisory

Similar ad, on the same hacking forum

Image: Supplied to ZDNet by Gemini Advisory

Another ad for hacked Disney+ accounts on a different hacking forum

Image: Supplied to ZDNet by Gemini Advisory

Ad on an online marketplace selling access to hacked Disney+ accounts

Image: Supplied by source

However, in our search for ads on various hacking forums, we also came across several lists of Disney+ account credentials being offered for free, to be shared and used by the hacker community (Disney+ allows account sharing).

When we looked into the lists, we found usernames and cleartext credentials. We emailed some users on two lists, and some replied, confirming that the credentials were theirs, and still active.

Hackers sharing access for free to hacked Disney+ accounts

Image: ZDNet

Image: ZDNet

Hackers sharing access for free to hacked Disney+ accounts

Image: ZDNet

Image: ZDNet

Hackers sharing access for free to hacked Disney+ accounts

Image: ZDNet

Image: ZDNet

ZDNet also reached out to Disney for comment. We asked the company about the security systems it has in place to protect users from account hijacking. We did not receive a response before this article's publication.

One thing Disney+ could do to help users would be to roll out support for multi-factor authentication, a simple solution that would prevent attacks relying on password reuse.

What Disney+ is facing right now is what other streaming services have been fighting against for years. Hacking forums have been overflowing with hacked Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Netflix accounts. The reason hackers are still putting up new accounts for sale on a regular basis is because people are buying.

The advice for Disney+ account holders is to use unique passwords for their accounts. This won't prevent malware on their devices from stealing their passwords, but it will prevent the most common scenario of hackers gaining access to accounts just by guessing the password.

ZDNet would like to thank Andrei Barysevich, CEO and Co-Founder of Gemini Advisory, for his help on researching this article.

Visit ZDNET