Exes may use password warfare as revenge
Sharing Facebook passwords with a significant other can seem like a sign of trust and commitment.
But when the relationship goes sour, the consequences of that extension of trust can be severe.
More than 56 percent of people admit to having “snooped on their partner’s social media pages,” according to a study conducted by the security company McAfee, and 48.8 percent said they “looked at their emails.”
In the same study, 36 percent of Americans said they plan to share an intimate photo with their partner via text message, email or social network on Valentine’s Day, and 1 in 10 exes have “threatened to post a revealing photo of a former partner online, and 60 percent of those people have followed through with it.”
The Information Technology (IT) department discourages students from sharing any passwords. Cheryl O’Dell, director of Information Security and Compliance for IT, said Emporia State students are just as vulnerable to these digital revenge tactics as anyone else.
“Last semester, one student had reported to the TCS department that his former girlfriend had gained access to his Facebook and email account and sent several messages under his name,” O’Dell said. “If you share passwords with your significant other and the relationship goes bad, you should change your passwords immediately.”
O’Dell said no one should ever share a password, regardless of the relationship between the two parties.
Michael Erickson, associate vice president and chief information officer for IT, said one should never use the same password for every account. Keeping different passwords is good practice is a password change may be desired.
“You would never use the same keys for your house, your car and your mailbox,” O’Dell said. “So you should have different passwords for Facebook, BuzzIn and email.”
One ESU student, who asked to remain anonymous, said they were a victim of cyber revenge tactics by an ex.
“My Facebook and Tumblr accounts were hacked by someone I dated back in high school,” the student said. “It was really frustrating and just absolutely creepy of them. Everyone should change their password often, and never share passwords with your significant other.”
Another student, who also asked to remain unnamed, said that password sharing had negatively affected their sibling.
“My sister’s ex-boyfriend logged into her Facebook account and changed the password and profile,” they said. “It was really messed up. I’m glad Facebook was able to recognize the situation and delete the account after he made a flood of really dumb posts and comments, but it was a pretty terrible experience for her to go through.”
One student said sharing passwords could be a way to “force people into being more honest with each other,” but O’Dell said this is not a good idea.
“There’s no reason to ever share a password,” O’Dell said. “There has to got to be a better way to trust one another.”
For questions about computer security, visit the IT page on ESU’s website.