Study says 1 in 5 Facebook accounts secretly accessed by friends, spouses

A recent study conducted by the University of British Columbia shows that one in five people have reported secretly accessing the Facebook account of a loved one.

Led by Wali Ahmed Usmani, a computer science graduate attending UBC, a team of researchers conducted a survey of over 1,300 American adults, asking subjects if they have ever snooped into the Facebook account of a family member, associate or a romantic partner without receiving permission.

The results revealed that one fifth of those answered yes.

And when the subjects were asked if they, in turn, had their accounts accessed by someone close to them without their permission, about 21 percent said they had.

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Though the social platform has worked to implement security options to help users' accounts become more secure and "hack proof," researchers say unauthorized access into Facebook accounts was largely achieved by using the personal devices of the person who's account was hacked.

Many people leave their phones or computers logged into Facebook and, if unattended, passwords or PINS are not always necessary for others to gain access.

SEE ALSO: Even Mark Zuckerberg uses the same password for different accounts

And though intentions of those who accessed their loved ones accounts spanned a variety of motivations -- jealousy, curiosity, fun, animosity -- researchers found that most who gained access did so out of humor, such as changing the person's profile picture or updating their status to something they thought was funny.

The report encourages people to changes their passwords more frequently and to use an authenticator to prevent unauthorized users. The study suggest users also refrain from giving out their passwords to love ones, and to go even further as to install a passive log that records the amount of time that was browsed on the account when accessed.

But one guaranteed practice researchers advise to stop attacks? Log out of Facebook on your devices when leaving.