Infosecurity Europe conducted a survey outside Liverpool Street Station in London to learn who was willing to expose sensitive information. As an enticement to take the survey the surveyors offered respondents a bar of chocolate.
The survey questions include asking for people's name, date of birth, telephone numbers, passwords, and other information. When the results were tallied it was discovered that half of the respondents said that they knew the passwords used by their colleagues. About half of the respondents revealed that they use the same password in nearly every instance that involves password-protected access. Forty-three percent said that they rarely ever change their passwords. Finally, it was discovered that 21 percent were willing to trade their own passwords for a bar of chocolate.
While the number of people willing to give away their passwords is surprising, the surveyors said that the number is much lower than last year. In 2007 a whopping 64 percent were willing to trade their password for a bar of chocolate.
After taking some survey respondents were surprised when they were told the real purpose of the survey, which was to "raise awareness about information security as part of Information Security Awareness Week which runs from the 21-25 April 2008."
"This is precisely the problem, whether a criminal approaches you on the street or online, they will often not be who they appear to be, a criminal can often look very presentable," said Claire Sellick, event director for Infosecurity Europe.