Giving up chocolate might be the key to keeping your passwords safe

It’s no secret that THE WHOLE WORLD loves eating chocolate, so this news is a little unsettling for our collective stomachs. The University of Luxembourg has conducted research around social engineering attacks — as in, instances where criminals trick an unsuspecting person into handing over confidential personal information such as their computer passwords. The way that chocolate enters the equation, is that if the victim receives some before they’re asked for their password details, it apparently makes them feel more obligated to divulge their private information.

Researchers discovered this by going undercover carrying University of Luxembourg bags, and asking people on the street what they thought about computer security. After a pleasant chat, researchers then asked for their password. They gave out gifts during the experiment, one of them being chocolate — and found it to have an enormous effect on the outcome of the test.

If the chocolate was received before the password conversation took place, 43.5% of the human guinea pigs gave their passwords to the interviewer! Compare this to if the chocolate  was received after they were asked for their password, where only 29.8% revealed their passwords. Of course it’s possible that some of the passwords were fake, if the respondents were really alert to what was happening.

So the moral of the story is: No matter how delicious the chocolate may be, for goodness sake, don’t be fooled into giving out your private information! Regardless of treats, don’t give security details out to anyone, no matter the circumstance. It’s not worth the risk of having your email hacked, your banking info stolen, or your computer overcome with a mysterious virus. Buy your own chocolate and chomp it in peace, knowing that they’ll never guess your magic password combination of your four first pets, the date of your first kiss, and your preschool teacher’s middle name.