1 in 5 employees are willing to hand over their work passwords for money

Tim Cook in IrelandTwitter/Tim CookTim Cook addressing Apple staff in Ireland.

One in five employees are willing to sell their work passwords to hackers, according to a new survey.

The survey from SailPoint — a firm that sells software for managing user access to corporate systems — found that 20% of 1,000 respondents (all from companies with at least 1,000 employees) would sell their work passwords to a third-party for a fee.

According to the survey, US employees are most likely to hand over their passwords, with 27% of US workers saying they’d sell their logon details. Next up was the Netherlands with 20%, followed by the UK and France on 16%.

Unauthorised access to a company’s internal systems could provide a treasure trove of valuable data for criminals. They may be targeting individual user accounts, or they could be after intellectual property, or corporate strategy data.

An Apple employee told Business Insider in February that hackers have offered Apple staff as much as €20,000 (£16,000) for their passwords. “You’d be surprised how many people get on to us, just random Apple employees,” the Apple employee said. “You get emails offering you thousands [of euros] to get a password to get access to Apple.”

The survey also asked whether respondents would be willing to sell their credentials for “less than $1,000 (£694).” Interestingly, UK workers came out top here, with 56% saying they would, followed by 50% in France and 44% in the US.

Last year, just one in seven people said they’d sell their corporate credentials for cash, painting a worrying trend for employers.

Kevin Cunningham, president and founder of SailPoint, said: “It’s imperative that employees understand the implications of how they adhere to those policies. It only takes one entry point out of hundreds of millions in a single enterprise for a hacker to gain access and cause a lot of damage.”

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