Excuse me miss, would you like a chocolate bar?

Valentine’s Day has passed and so has April Fool’s Day. But I ain’t pull’in your leg when I tell you that a survey conducted by Infosecurity Europe of 576 office workers found that women were far more likely to give away their computer passwords to total strangers masquerading as market researches in exchange for a chocolate bar as an incentive for filling in a survey.

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The survey was part of a social engineering exercise to raise awareness about information security. It was conducted outside Liverpool Street Station in the City of London.

This year’s survey results were significantly better than in previous years. In 2007 64% of people were prepared to give away their passwords for a chocolate bar, this year it had dropped to just 21%.

The researchers also asked the office workers for their dates of birth to validate that they had carried out the survey – 61% revealed their date of birth. Another slightly worrying fact discovered by researchers was that over half the people questioned use the same password for EVERYTHING (ATM banking, Internet, etc.).

Workers were also asked about their use of passwords at work, half said that they knew their colleagues passwords and when asked if they would give their passwords to someone who phoned and said they were from the IT department, 58% said they would. .

“This research shows that it’s pretty simple for a perpetrator to gain access to information that is restricted by having a chat around the coffee machine or pretending to be from the IT department,” said Claire Sellick, Event Director, Infosecurity Europe. “This type of social engineering technique is often used by hackers targeting a specific organization with valuable data or assets such as a government department or a bank.”

The survey was carried out as part of the run up to Information Security Awareness week which starts on the 21st April.

So everyone, moral of the story is, don’t give away your password to ANYONE, don’t use the same password and guys, next time you want, ugh, a little something from your girlfriend, offer her a chocolate bar.

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Author: movie boss

Scott Rosenberg is an award winning entertainment journalist covering stories bridging the United States and Asia. He is also managing director of AMW International Co. Ltd., a Bangkok based pr and marketing boutique. Wearing his journalist cap, he serves as Asian Pacific Bureau Chief of US based Film Journal International and former editor of Monsters and Critics. Formerly Scott was Thailand correspondent for The Hollywood Reporter and Southeast Asian correspondent for Variety. Scott has served as consultant to many international film festivals, most recently serving as director for the inaugural Phuket Film Festival in Phuket, Thailand in October 2007. Scott was presented the “Friends of Thailand” Award by the Thai Government in 2002 for his contributions to the Kingdom through his journalistic endeavors while having received from His Majesty Norodom Sihanouk, King of Cambodia, that same year the royal titles Commandeur de l'ordre Royal du Sahametrei and Commandeur de l'ordre Royal du Cambodge. As a hobby, Scott raises rare breed, pedigree Thai Ridgeback Dogs and "hangs-out" with Thai Elephants in northern Thailand as they paint. Their paintings can be found at www.elephant-paintings.com

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