Chocolate No Longer As Effective In Separating Men From Their Passwords?

from the fun-with-statistics,-headlines-and-chocolate dept

There are a bunch of headlines today about the fact that people will give up their passwords in exchange for some chocolate, but most of the reports seem to be missing the point. Similar studies have been conducted for years. Four years ago, we saw an almost identical study. Other studies have shown that people will give up their passwords for a ballpoint pen or chance to win theater tickets. None of this really proves very much. The “chocolate” hook is really just for generating headlines. After all, a similar study showed that people would give up private data if you just ask nicely. Chocolate may have nothing to do with it.

In reality, though, the interesting part of this chocolate story is the fact that the number of people who give up their password for chocolate is way down this year compared to the same study last year. Last year 64% gave up their password, whereas this year only 21% did. That’s a huge difference, and should make you question the methodology. It certainly sounds like the results could depend very much on how persuasive the questioner is. Hire someone who’s a good social engineer, and the numbers go up. For the same reason, I wouldn’t give very much credence to the other headline coming out of this study that women are more likely than men to hand over their passwords. Again, without testing it under identical circumstances, it’s tough to determine that for sure. A good social engineer will be able to get passwords out of plenty of people, whether using chocolate, a ballpoint pen or just plain sweet talk.

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Comments on “Chocolate No Longer As Effective In Separating Men From Their Passwords?”

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Jack Sombra says:

“Last year 64% gave up their password, whereas this year only 21% did. That’s a huge difference, and should make you question the methodology.”
While i do not deny there are huge questions about the methodology i would be susprised if there was not some kind of large drop. People are slowly but surely becomeing more IT security aware, be it passwords, identity theft or big companys/government losing your data, bearly a day pass’s by where their is not something related to these in the news/press.

People are stupid, but if you repeat something enough times they do eventually learn something and stop falling for the most obvious scams

But that said a good social engineer will always have a good success rate because they are not so obvious as “hey i will give you some chocolate if you give me your password”

Crazy Turk says:

Social Engineering... Just being good at fibbing

It’s amazing how much people are willing to believe and how many people are blindly trusting even to strangers. If your really good at it, you can even get people to believe something that they didn’t even believe in the first place or better yet stood against for many many years. It’s not just a co-incidence though that the best fibbers also make the best social engineers…

Hack the Planet… or at least it’s people

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