In a survey of 200 people conducted in London this week, almost 60% of people were prepared to divulge their computer password when asked by a stranger.
Commissioned by security software firm Symantec, but undertaken by an independent research company, the survey also found that 45% of respondents revealed that they use their birthday, mother’s maiden name or the name of their pet as a password.
Incentivised only by a £5 M&S voucher, a number of respondents then went on to highlight how they remember their password, where they store it, and which online websites from the realms of email, shopping, banking and social networking they most frequently use.
The on-street survey was conducted as part of a wider campaign by Symantec to examine the perceived differences between consumer and business attitudes to personal information held by companies.
Commenting on the survey, John Brigden, senior vice president of Symantec EMEA, said: ‘People are willing to give a lot away about their personal information. I don’t think they realise … how little information is really needed to have a big impact on someone’s financial situation. Often a full name, address and date of birth is enough for a fraudster to steal an identity.’
Check out our online security advice guide for more advice on password security and other ways to stay safe online. We also have expert reviews of security software including anti-spam, anti-spyware and anti-virus products.
Which? RSS news feed
For daily consumer news, subscribe to the . If you have an older web browser you may need to copy and paste this link into your newsreader: https://www.which.co.uk/feeds/reviews/news.xml . Find out more about RSS in the Which? guide to RSS news feeds.