Warnings about carelessness some employees can be with workplace passwords have become commonplace. However, a recent survey commissioned by access management software firm SailPoint Technologies shed new light on just how much some workers can be indifferent towards protecting sensitive corporate data.
The global survey of 1,000 employees in large corporations found that one in seven workers admitted they would sell their work passwords for as little as US$150.
The survey also confirmed what many workers around the world already know about how passwords are blatantly shared in the workplace. One in five of workers polled said they routinely share with team members, login information for corporate applications.
More than half (56 per cent) of respondents admitted to reusing daily passwords for corporate applications.
“Employees may have moved away from the post-it note password list, but using the same password across personal and work applications exposes the company,” said Kevin Cunningham, president of SailPoint. “Just think of the major breaches that occurred in 2014 requiring users to change their passwords on social media.”
He said if the passwords in those cases were the same passwords being used to access mission-critical applications, it would be “very easy for hacking organizations to take advantage and get into more valuable areas.”
The temptation to reuse passwords is very strong, especially when you consider the growing number of passwords many employees are required to remember.
If you think $150 is a very small amount for a corporate password, think again. A 2012 survey in the United Kingdom revealed that half of employees would sell their corporate password for less than £5 or $9.30. Thirty per cent of those polled said they would part with their work password for $1.86.
Networkworld.com reports some people will give up their work password for even less.
“Other research groups were able to get people to reveal their passwords for something as small as a chocolate bar,” Christopher Frenz, faculty member at New York City College of Technology to Networkworld.He was quick to add though that such surveys tend to involve people who “self-select” themselves for participation and are not a representative cross-section.
Still, why would a person risk losing his job or even jeopardize a career for such a pittance?
Joseph Loomis, CEO of CyberSponse, believes low employee morale could be one of the reasons.