I ran across write up of an interesting survey in a online Swedish newspaper. It seems that a good number of Swedes are more than willing to reveal passwords and access info to websites to an unknown person in exchange for chocolate bars while answering questions during a survey. (I suspect that this lax approach to password security – really their online identity – isn’t limited to our friends in the frigid North.)
What strikes me about this experiment isn’t that anyone would ‘sell’ his or her password for a chocolate bar – that’s not the point, at all – but that people STILL think that there’s no danger of anyone misusing their passwords. I don’t doubt that a good number of the people would have revealed the same amount of information even if no chocolate had been offered. After all, these folks didn’t think that they were selling their passwords; the chocolate made it seem like an innocent game, and without giving it much thought, they revealed more than they should have.
This is scary news. Part of the problem is that many people have a picture in their minds that their passwords don’t secure anything valuable, and why would anyone want to read their e-mails anyway?! Another component seems to be that most people don’t realize how interconnected everything can be on the Internet. A password on one site that is also used on another site may reveal more about the person than he realizes, and, in this world of ours, there is always SOMEONE who IS interested in your data!
Keeping your passwords secure is a critical component to keeping your personal information secure and your online identity safe.