Free chocolate? Thanks, here's my password!

Yum, chocolate! My password is mydogiscalledlassie

Two thirds of Britons would happily divulge their passwords and other sensitive personal data in exchange for a bar of chocolate, a new survey has shown.

Of the 300 people - including London train commuters and IT professionals at an industry event - polled by Infosecurity Europe , 64 per cent were prepared to give out their passwords for a bar of chocolate and a smile.

The survey found that when asked by a smiling, attractive questioner, the IT workers gave out as much info as the commuters did. The respondents were asked if they knew what the most common password is, and then what their own password was. About one in five (22 per cent) of IT workers gave out the personal info at this stage, while 40 per cent of the commuters did.

Those who refused to give out their passwords were then asked if it was based on a child, pet or football team, with researchers trying to suggest potential passwords by guessing the name of children or favourite team. Using these techniques, a further 42 per cent of IT workers and 22 per cent of commuters unintentionally revealed their password. The total number of people who revealed their password was thus 64 per cent for both groups.

Sam Jeffers, event manager for Infosecurity Europe 2007 said the survey revealed that even those in responsible IT positions in large organisations are not as aware as they should be about information security.

"What is most surprising is that even when the IT professionals became slightly wary about revealing their passwords, they were put at their ease by a smile and a bit of smooth talk," said Jeffers.

"It just goes to show that we still have a long way to go in educating people about security policies and procedures as the person trying to steal data from a company is just as likely to be an attractive young woman acting as a honey trap as a hacker using technology to find a way into a corporate network," he said.