Unsuspecting Users Still Freely Give Up Personal Info - InformationWeek
02:22 PM

Unsuspecting Users Still Freely Give Up Personal Info

RSA Security lured consumers with a bogus survey on New York tourism, and got the consumers to give up personal information like their mothers' maiden names.

The vast majority of Americans are all too willing to give up private information that could be used to guess online account names and passwords, a security firm said Monday, showing that the threat of identity theft hasn't yet sunk in.

RSA Security lured consumers with a bogus survey on New York City tourism and the promise of gift certificates. Official-looking pollsters in the city's Central Park asked questions ranging from the mundane -- "Is this your first visit to New York City?" -- to the personal -- "What's your mother's maiden name?" -- to duplicate how phishing attacks dupe users with real logos and industry lingo.

More than 70 percent of those polled gave up their mother's maiden name -- a potential goldmine, since it's often used to confirm identities or demanded in a password reset -- while over 90 percent handed over their place and date of birth. More than half told the pollsters how they come up with online passwords.

"A lot of personal information actually functions like a password and, as such, needs to be robustly protected," said Chris Young, vice president of consumer authentication at RSA in a statement. "With a bit of sleuthing, motivated phishers can guess a password by having [a victim's] address and trying combinations that assume he's a fan [of a particular sports team]. Our survey reminds us that we all need to be more aware of such vulnerabilities, and take precautions."

Young advised consumers to keep all aspects of their password-creation methodology, as well as all personal information, as secret as possible. He also recommended that users rely on a variety of passwords, not the same one for all accounts or access.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
2018 State of the Cloud
2018 State of the Cloud
Cloud adoption is growing, but how are organizations taking advantage of it? Interop ITX and InformationWeek surveyed technology decision-makers to find out, read this report to discover what they had to say!
5 Data and AI Trends for 2019
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  1/7/2019
Act Now to Reap Automation Benefits Later
Guest Commentary, Guest Commentary,  1/3/2019
Cloud Trends: Look Behind the Numbers
James M. Connolly, Executive Managing Editor, InformationWeekEditor in Chief,  12/31/2018
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
Enterprise Software Options: Legacy vs. Cloud
InformationWeek's December Trend Report helps IT leaders rethink their enterprise software systems and consider whether cloud-based options like SaaS may better serve their needs.
White Papers
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll