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Passwords up for grabs for chocolate

Bill Goodwin

An alarming proportion of IT professionals are prepared to disclose their personal passwords to researchers in return for a smile and a free bar of chocolate.

More than 20% of IT professionals quizzed by researchers working for Infosecurity Europe at an IT exhibition disclosed their passwords when asked directly by an attractive, chocolate wielding researcher.

A further 42% revealed their passwords when the researchers quizzed them whether their passwords were based on the name of a child, pet or football team.

“What is most surprising is that even when IT professionals became slightly wary about revealing their passwords, they were put at ease by a smile and a bit of smooth talk,” said Sam Jeffers, event manager for Infosecurity Europe.

IT professionals, however, were more security aware than the general public. When researchers questioned commuters at London train stations, over 40% were prepared to disclose their passwords immediately, and 22% gave out their password under further questioning.

Almost 30% of the people questioned admitted to knowing the passwords of work colleagues, and 40% said they would happily hand their password over to their IT department, if asked.

Two thirds of those surveyed said they would look at a file containing everyone’s salaries if they were sent it by mistake and 20% said they would pass it on to colleagues.

Some 58% said they would take contacts and competitive information with them when they left their organisation.

The researchers surveyed 300 office workers and IT staff.

Related articles:

Security policies must extend outside of the office

Web users warned to take control of online safety

Third of firms don't report e-crime


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