How to give Netflix as a gift for the holidays

Gift Netflix and then chill for the rest of the holiday season.

 

You might think the hardest part about giving the gift of Netflix this holiday season is finding someone on your list who isn’t already a subscriber to the wildly popular streaming service. However you didn’t know Netflix gift subscriptions may be added to existing accounts. Who doesn’t want a few free months of Netflix?

Two types of Netflix gift cards

There are physical gift cards that you can mail or otherwise deliver yourself and electronic gift cards that get emailed. You can also find physical Netflix gift cards at  major brick and mortar retailers, which make great stocking stuffers or something to toss into a holiday card. You can, however, purchase Netflix gift cards — either physical or electronic gift cards — without leaving your house.

Netflix doesn’t sell gift cards itself. Instead, it points you to Amazon.com, Target.com, Walmart.com or PayPal.com. E commerce giant Amazon sells both physical and electronic cards on the other side Walmart and PayPal sell only electronic gift cards. I also found both physical and electronic gift cards on Best Buy’s website.

How to give an electronic Netflix gift card

Let’s take Amazon as an example. if you wish to send an electronic gift card then use the Netflix Gift Cards – E-mail Delivery option on Amazon and then select a gift card design, further choose an amount between $25 and $200 and enter the email addresses of your gift recipients. You can also add a note and select the delivery date from there.

How to redeem a Netflix gift

To cash in a Netflix gift card, go to Netflix.com/redeem and enter the 11-digit PIN code on the back of the gift card or in the gift-card email.

Netflix pricing

If you are wondering how many months of free streaming your gift card will provide, you should know that the recipient will likely use the $10.99-a-month Standard plan. The $7.99-a-month Basic plan doesn’t include HD, and the $13.99-a-month Premium plan offers 4K streaming.

 

Next Article: Spectre and Meltdown: Details you need on those big chip flaws

SECURITY

Spectre and Meltdown: Details you need on those big chip flaws

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James Martin/CNET

Processors are vital to running all our computerized devices, even if we hardly ever think about them. That’s why it’s a big deal that they have major vulnerabilities, such as Spectre and Meltdown, that leave them open to hacking attacks.

As they run all the essential processes on your computer, these silicon chips handle extremely sensitive data. That includes passwords and encryption keys, the fundamental tools for keeping your computer secure.

The Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities, revealed Wednesday, could let attackers capture information they shouldn’t be able to access, like  those passwords and keys. As a result, an attack on a computer chip can turn into a serious security concern.

So how did this happen? And what will chip companies like Intel, Arm and AMD (and the hardware makers that put the chips in their products) do to fix the problem? Here’s what you need to know:

What are the vulnerabilities?

Researchers found two major weaknesses in processors that could let attackers read sensitive information that should never leave the CPU, or central processing unit. In both cases, attackers could see data that the processor temporarily makes available outside of the chip.

Here’s why that happens: To make computer processes run faster, a chip will essentially guess what information the computer needs to perform its next function. That’s called speculative execution. As the chip guesses, that sensitive information is momentarily easier to access.

One flaw, Spectre, would let attackers trick the processor into starting the speculative execution process. Then attackers could read the secret data the chip makes available as it tries to guess what function the computer will carry out next.

The other flaw, Meltdown, lets attackers access the secret information through a computer’s operating system, such as Microsoft Windows or Apple’s High Sierra.

Security experts refer to these sorts of incursions as side-channel attacks, because they access information as it’s being used by a legitimate process on the computer.

What are tech companies saying and doing about this?

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich says the problems are well on their way to being fixed, at least in the case of Intel-powered PCs and servers. Intel said Thursday that 90 percent of chips released in the last five years will have fixes available by the end of next week and that for chips up to 10 years old, fixes will be released in the coming weeks.

Microsoft on Wednesday released patches for the Windows operating systemand its Internet Explorer and Edge browsers, but warned that your antivirus software needs to be updated to support those patches.

Apple said that it has released mitigations for the Meltdown flaw for the operating systems on its Mac computers, Apple TVs, iPhones and iPads, and that neither Meltdown nor Spectre affects the Apple Watch. Apple also said Thursday that it will release patches “in the coming days” for the Safari browser to help defend against Spectre exploits and that it will continue to release patches in future updates of its iOS, MacOS and TVOS software.

Which chips are affected?

A number of chip designs from Intel, Arm and AMD are susceptible to one or more variants of the attacks. The issue is so widespread because those chips, used in devices made by Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and others, all share a similar structure.

What’s more, the flaws don’t just affect personal computers — Meltdown also affects servers, the backbone of all major cloud services. So yes, Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud are susceptible to the problem, too. Google said it has secured all its affected products, and Amazon said it would finish securing all affected products on Wednesday.

How long has this been a problem?

Researchers at Google’s Project Zero, as well as a separate team of academic researchers, discovered the problems in 2017, but the issue has existed on chips for a long time — perhaps more than 20 years.

That’s because the issue doesn’t result from a badly written computer code. Instead, the problem comes down to the way the chips are intentionally designed.

Processors are supposed to make the secret information easier to access as they gear up to run the next process on a computer. As the programming quip goes, this is a feature, not a bug.

Has anyone been hacked via these flaws?

Researchers, chipmakers and computer companies all say there are no known examples of hackers using these weaknesses to attack a computer. However, now that the details of the design flaws and how to exploit them are publicly available, the chances of hackers using them are much higher.

The good news is that hackers would first need to install malicious software on your computer in order to take advantage of these flaws. That means they need to select their targets and hack each one of them before running a sophisticated attack to steal a computer’s sensitive information.

What can I do to protect myself?

As chipmakers and computer companies roll out software updates, be sure to install them. Beyond that, since hackers would have to install malware on your computer, do your best to make that harder for them.

That means you should keep all your other software updated, including your web browsers and Flash (if you’re still using it). Also, run security software to make sure you don’t have any malicious software on your computer right now.

Finally, look out for phishing emails. Emails that trick you into clicking on a link and downloading malicious software are still the number one way for hackers to get a foothold on your computer.

 

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