'Change your passwords when you change boyfriends': prosecutor

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'Change your passwords when you change boyfriends': prosecutor

An increasing number of unauthorized data access cases are being reported in Sweden, not in the least due to spurned IT-savvy exes wanting to keep tabs on their former partners.


”You need to change your passwords when you change your boyfriend,” said prosecutor Helene Gestrin.

Soon court proceedings will start against a 31-year-old man under suspicion of spying on his former girlfriend through her computer.

The man allegedly installed spyware on her PC, which registered everything from what keys she typed, to web pages she visited, and log-in details for her email accounts.

”She realised her ex knew things about her that he shouldn't,” Gestrin said.

The man however denies all allegations.

Last year the number of unauthorized data access offences almost doubled and the police expect the growing trend to continue this year.

In 2010 near 2,300 cases were reported. Over the first three quarters of 2011, more than 2,200 reports had been received by police.

In the majority of the cases it is individuals who contact the police.

How large a percentage pertains to failed relationships is hard to say, but Anders Ahlqvist, head of the IT unit at the National Bureau of Investigation (Rikskriminalen) is well aware that this is a growing problem.

”To be perfectly frank, we're talking about revenge and sheer mischief,” he said.

And it isn't easy to catch those responsible. Police were only able to identify the perpetrator in ten percent of the cases reported last year.


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