It may be time for a password change - and you might want to consider something other than password1234 this time.
More than one in five American adults copped to secretly accessing the Facebook accounts of their friends, spouses or family members in a recent study.
Researchers from University of British Columbia surveyed 1,308 U.S. adult Facebook users and found that 24 percent – or more than one in five – had gone through a loved one’s Facebook account using the victim’s own computer or cellphone.
"It's clearly a widespread practice. Facebook private messages, pictures or videos are easy targets when the account owner is already logged on and has left their computer or mobile open for viewing," said study author Wali Ahmed Usmani.
While many participants confessed to snooping on loved ones out of curiosity or boredom, others copped to taking a peek motivated by jealousy or animosity.
"Jealous snoops generally plan their action and focus on personal messages, accessing the account for 15 minutes or longer," said senior author Ivan Beschastnikh.
"And the consequences are significant: in many cases, snooping effectively ended the relationship."
Kosta Beznosov, the paper's other senior author, said the findings underscore the ineffectiveness of passwords and device PINs in keeping out intruders.
"There's no single best defense,” said Beznosov. “Though a combination of changing passwords regularly, logging out of your account and other security practices can definitely help.”
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