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April 27, 2009

Workers would sell secrets for free slap-up meal

Also tempted by holidays, cash and new jobs, says survey

By Steve Evans

Research released to coincide with this week’s InfoSec event in London has revealed that 37% of workers in England’s capital would be willing to sell company secrets if the price was right.

The survey quizzed commuters at London railway stations and asked whether they would be willing to release sensitive information from their company and if so, what it would take for them to agree.

Of the 37% who would be willing to sell company secrets, 63% said they would only hand over the information for at least £1m, and 10% said they would do it if their mortgage was paid off.

Other offers that would tempt workers to steal company data include a holiday (5%), a new job (5%) and paying off credit card debts (4%). Amazingly, 2% said they would betray their company for a free slap up meal.

Two thirds (68%) of employees think it is easy to sneak information out of their organisation and 88% believe that the information they have access to is valuable.

The types of information that the workers have access to included customer databases (83%), business plans (72%), accounting systems (53%), human resources databases (51%) and IT admin passwords (37%), the survey said.

Tamar Beck, group event director of Infosecurity Europe, said: “It’s quite staggering that a third of people are open to bribery. You can’t count on people’s honesty to protect the assets of company, it’s down to an organisation to take steps to ensure their most valuable assets are locked down and protected, especially confidential customer data.

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“Criminals are very adept at finding the vulnerable workers who can be tempted into betraying their employers, therefore, organisations should ensure that they have trained their people to protect sensitive information and have adequate technology and processes in place to help them enforce security policies that comply with current regulation and legislation.”

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