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Many Users Say They'd Sell Company Data For The Right Price

In subway survey, 37 percent of workers say they could be bought

Would you sell your company's secrets to a stranger for $1.5 million? More than one-third of employees surveyed last week said they would -- and some of them said they'd do it for less.

In their annual visit to London's railway stations, researchers from the InfoSecurity Europe conference asked 600 commuters whether they'd sell their company's sensitive data in exchange for various forms of compensation. Last year, the researchers got many railway riders to give up their passwords for a chocolate bar.

This year, the researchers offered the workers an escalating range of theoretical bribes, ranging from a good meal to 1 million pounds (about $1.5 million). An admirable 63 percent said they wouldn't give out their company's data at any price. Of the 37% of workers who could be corrupted, nearly two-thirds said they would have to get at least $1.5 million to sell out. Ten percent said they would do it if their mortgages were paid off, 5 percent would do it for a vacation or new job, and 4 percent would do it to pay off their credit card debts.

Two percent of the employees said they'd sell the company's crown jewels for a "slap-up meal" -- that's British slang for a hearty meal.

And the employees weren't all working in the mailroom. In fact, 83 percent of them said they have access to customer databases, 72 percent have access to business plans, 53 percent can get into accounting systems, and 37 percent have IT administrative passwords. Two-thirds (68 percent) of the employees think it's "easy" to sneak information out of their organization; 88 percent of employees think the information they can access is valuable.

More than half of the workers in the survey (55 percent) said they are more worried about losing their jobs than they were this time a year ago. One-third of the respondents said they feel "a lot" less loyalty to their employers than they did a year ago. When the researchers specified the questions to ask about the purchase of credit card information, account details, or security codes, employees became harder to tempt. Eighty percent of the respondents said they wouldn't provide that type of information at any price.

Among the 20 percent of employees who would pass on credit card information, account details, or security codes, 68 percent would only do it for 1 million pounds, 7 percent if their mortgages were paid off, and 15 percent to pay off their credit cards.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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