Money for nothing but the choc’s for free
Helen G // 16 April 2008
This year’s Information Security Awareness week starts on 21st April and to highlight its approach, the organisers of a corresponding IT industry trade show, Infosecurity Europe, have carried out their annual survey and once again found that a lot of people really couldn’t care less about their computer passwords – or, as The Inquirer helpfully puts it, "Women give out passwords for chocolate – Just imagine what they’ll do for jewellery"…
Office workers outside Liverpool Street Station in London were "asked to give strangers, posing as market researchers, their email password, in return for a chocolate bar". And apparently 45% of the women quizzed were happy to oblige, as opposed to 10% of men.
Once you get past the cliched headlines, and the fact that this seems to have been more of a straw poll than any particular piece of scientific research, there is actually a serious underlying point – although it applies regardless of gender – which is that giving away personal information to strangers who look respectable, regardless of what it’s in exchange for, leaves one exposed to the risk of identity theft.
But I’ll tell you this for nothing: I’d want a huge bar of really good quality chocolate for my password. About the size of the Isle of Wight, I reckon…