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13% of Brits are 'casual hackers'

Majority of those have accessed social networking profiles without the owner's knowledge

More than one in ten Brits have admitted to 'casual hacking' says CPP.

Research by the life assistance company revealed that 13 percent of web users said they had accessed someone else's online account without their permission.

Social networks such as Facebook were the most popular target for this casual hacking, while personal and work emails, money transaction portals such as PayPal and online banking sites, had all also been accessed by these web users without the account holder's knowledge.

Of those that admitted to 'casual hacking', nearly a third (32 percent) said they did it 'just for fun' while 29 percent wanted to check-up on their other half and eight percent were keeping tabs on a work colleague. However, two percent admitted they did it for financial gain.

CPP also revealed 16 percent of web users have had their own password-protected account accessed by others without their permission. Nearly a quarter (24 percent) of these said their personal email had been breeched, while seven percent said their work email had been accessed. Nearly one in five (19 percent) said someone had accessed their eBay account and 16 percent admitted their social networking profile had been accessed.

Furthermore, one in ten claim money or a bank loan has been taken out in their name without their knowledge.

'People may dismiss checking up on their friend or partner's accounts as a bit of fun, but in reality they are hacking,' said Danny Harrison, CPP's identity fraud expert.

'Looking at someone's personal information without their knowledge is a serious act and one that could have serious repercussions both personally and professionally. We would urge everyone to be very careful about sharing passwords and to be vigilant about monitoring their accounts.'

Nearly a fifth (17 percent) of web users said they were aware of online video tutorials offering advice on how to hack into accounts without someone's knowledge and 87 percent of those surveyed believe this content should not be available on the web.

Nearly two thirds (63 percent) want hacking tutorials removed and 56 percent believe the government should implement this. Furthermore, 59 percent believe these videos increase the risk of identity fraud.

'Hacking presents a risk to consumers and businesses and it is important people take the necessary steps to protect their identities and manage any compromised data. People are concerned about their password protected information being accessed without their permission and we are calling on the Government to review access to these online hacking lessons,' added Harrison.

CPP advised web users concerned about protecting their information from hackers to change their passwords regularly, always use secure Wi-Fi connections and navigate away from websites if you notice strange behaviour such as unknown certificates and pop-ups.

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