Hotstar, which recently became Disney+ Hotstar has been changing the login authentication for its users. Users previously required an Email to sign in to Hotstar. The app then started moving Email users to phone numbers for the process, sending the OTPs on SMS instead. The step was taken to tighten security of users. However, this has not entirely gone according to plan for the app.
A bunch of Disney+ Hotstar subscribers are reporting that they cannot log into their accounts anymore. This is because the accounts have been moved from their Email IDs to unknown phone numbers. As per a report by Gadgets 360 this is because the the account credentials of various users have been compromised via emailed phishing schemes and more. These credentials are often also then circulated on the dark web.
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It is not a dead-end for these users. They can still change the associated phone number on their accounts. However, this means dealing with the Hotstar customer support team via Twitter in what could be an unnecessarily troublesome step. The ability for users to themselves change their associated phone numbers is still not present. However, Disney+ Hotstar hopes to reportedly work on the feature soon.
Meanwhile Hotstar users who have been only logging in via an Email address and have not linked any phone number are still safe. They may continue to login with their email Ids for now. However, the direction the brand is taking suggests that it is only a matter of time before logins via SMS verification become mandatory.
A good alternative to the decision would have been to implement a two-factor authentication system like Amazon Prime Video which is much safer. SMS messages are not encrypted, and experts have agreed that they are more vulnerable to interception. Disney+ Hotstar could have also offered users the option of getting these OTPs on Email, which is safer than the SMS route.