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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