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Britain is a nation of cyber snoopers. Almost nine in ten (87 per cent) of UK workers have surreptitiously read a boss's private email on at least one occasion.

That's according to a survey of 200 professionals, sponsored by security firm Indicii Salus, which found that the vast majority of snoopers were motivated by curiosity rather than though of personal gain in accessing their boss's email.

Most people reported that they "came across an unprotected inbox" and were tempted to look at it by the email subject or the irregularity of the sender.

Of most interest to employees are details of their boss's private life, in particular inter-office relationships.

Details discovered by cyber-snoopers about themselves caused the greatest upset, but due to how they came across the information, only six per cent felt able to confront their boss about the content of the message. Of those that did, 10 people claimed they faced disciplinary action as a result of accessing company confidential information.

Five of those interviewed had left a company within three months as a result.

Only seven per cent of those interviewed said they use encryption technology, which along with password protected screen savers, would seem to be the best way to keep confidential communications away from prying eyes. ®

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