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One in five employees would sell their work passwords, some for less than $100

Key blanks hang on pegs at a lock and key shop in Lichfield
Reuters/Phil Noble
Available for a song.
By Joon Ian Wong
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Some worrying news for those concerned about corporate security: One in five employees would be happy to sell their work passwords, some for just the price of a dinner. That’s according to a new survey run by SailPoint, a company that sells software for managing user access on corporate systems.

The proportion of staff who’d compromise their corporate security credentials for cash has risen from last year, when one in seven workers said they’d do it. “The percentage of those willing to risk corporate data either through apathy, negligence or financial gain only increased,” Sailpoint’s report intoned.

Workers in the US were the most willing to hawk their work passwords, while workers in Australia and the Netherlands were the most reticent to do so. Here’s what that looks like charted:

The survey polled 1,000 people at companies with a minimum headcount 1,000 employees. About half of those surveyed belonged to big companies, with more than 10,000 employees.

Of the employees who were willing to sell their passwords, $55 was the lowest acceptable amount. But most demanded significantly more to betray their companies: The global average was about $82,000. On average, workers in France were willing to give up their corporate credentials for the least money.

It gets worse. About two-thirds of workers said they used the same password for multiple applications. And a third of workers said they already shared their passwords with their colleagues.

“It’s imperative that employees understand the implications of how they adhere to [corporate security] policies,” said Kevin Cunningham, SailPoint’s founder. “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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