Since many of us have an extensive online presence, we must be vigilant with our security and privacy at all times. The thought of having our personal data stolen is frightening. Cybercriminals seem to be lurking everywhere and we need to take every precaution to fend them off.
But what if it's someone that you know and trust that is accessing your accounts without permission? It turns out that this is a big problem with some Facebook users.
A recent study, conducted by a grad student at the University of British Columbia, found that 24 percent of people surveyed admitted to secretly accessing the Facebook account of someone they know. Over 1,300 U.S. adults were questioned for the study and 21 percent of them said they were aware that their Facebook account had been snooped on by a friend or loved one.
Normally, when you have an online account breached, we would tell you to immediately change your password. Then we would suggest other security measures such as two-step authentication and having strong security software.
Unfortunately, in a scenario like this, the normal security precautions won't help. That's because these Facebook accounts were accessed by using the victim's own gadget.
Typically this type of snooping occurs when the victim leaves their phone or computer unattended for a while. Since most everyone stays logged into Facebook on their gadget, anyone in the area of the unattended device can gain access.
In many cases like this, the person accessing someone else's Facebook account does it as a prank. They do something that they consider to be funny, like change the victim's profile picture or update their status to something embarrassing.
Sometimes, though, the snooping is of a more serious nature. Instances of a jealous partner wanting to check up on what their significant other is up to were also found. Many times this behavior actually led to the end of the relationship, according to the researchers.
How to prevent Facebook snooping
Obviously, the best way to prevent someone from snooping on your Facebook, or any other account for that matter, is to not leave your gadget unattended.
If you do leave the area where your computer or phone is located, make sure to lock the home screen with a passcode. That way, the snoop would have to know your passcode to get into your device, which you should not share with anyone.
The researchers also have a suggestion for Facebook itself to prevent these situations. They want the social media site to implement a passive log that would keep track of when your Facebook account is being looked at. This could deter people from snooping on others' accounts with the fear of being caught.
Have you ever found someone snooping on your Facebook account? Leave a comment and tell us about it.