I have to say as a woman I believe the findings of Infosecurity Europe’s recent survey, which claims that women are more inclined than men to give away passwords for chocolate, to be seriously flawed. The survey found that women far more likely than males to give away their passwords to total strangers. Forty-five percent of women versus 10 percent of men were prepared to give away their passwords, to strangers masquerading as market researches with the lure of a chocolate bar as an incentive for filling in the survey. My first issue is that women like chocolate more than men. Do I even need evidence of this? I do know women love chocolate, especially during a certain time of the month. If I were to run into a “market researcher” on the street, sure, I’d give him my “password” for a Milky Way. I’d lie about my password, take the chocolate and run. Men might have done the same if the incentive was, let’s say, bacon. But chocolate isn’t really the point of the survey, is it? It is about how women or people are blind to the idea of identity theft and just offer up information, right? Honestly, I don’t think people are that stupid, especially with threats of identity theft flooding TV spots and lining newsstands. The most compelling part of the survey (though I don’t really believe the results for a second) was that more than half of the people surveyed said they used the same password for everything. One of the best identity theft–prevention tips I have ever heard was to change your password for each site, but its understandably time-consuming and hard to keep track. We’ve always liked this tip:
Take the first letter of each word in a phrase, followed by the first letter of the site you’re visiting to create a unique password for every login. For example, “I went to Boston University in ’85” would be IWTBUI8. Then stick the first letter of the name of the site at the end. If this password were for Amazon.com it would be IWTBUI8A.
Ta-da. Identity unthieved. P.S. Don’t talk to or take candy from strangers.