Your password security is paramount. Guard it with your life. Change each password or passphrase often. Make sure it’s random. Use two-factor authentication where possible. But above all else, do not auction it on eBay.

That last one might sound odd, but it’s exactly what Nick Hugh Schmidt is currently doing. The artist, based in Brooklyn, New York, has thrown password management caution not just to the wind, but into a hurricane, setting up an eBay auction for the login and password to his own Facebook page. It’s already attracted bids of more than $160 (plus shipping).

The question is, why is he doing this? Speaking to news website, Schmidt revealed this isn’t a protest against national security snooping or online privacy issues: “It’s more of a social experiment to kind of hold a mirror up to the subject and kind of put the spotlight on them – the buyer – and see what they can do with it.”

And unlike the rest of us, who would break out into a cold sweat if our social login and password details were being auctioned off online, Schmidt is actually excited about what might happen: “Will it confirm our greatest fears,” he says, “or restore our faith in humanity?”

His experiment is, of course, replicated by hackers every second of every day – cyber criminals crack millions of passwords before auctioning them off to the highest bidder for purposes that sadly won’t restore our faith in humanity. So as well a fascinating social experiment, Schmidt has also provided a timely reminder that your online security is king, and if you haven’t yet had a chance to ensure yours is in its best possible shape, check out our quick tips to clean up your online security now.