back to article A third of workers admit they'd leak sensitive biz data for peanuts

A third of employees would sell information on company patents, financial records and customer credit card details if the price was right. A poll of 4,000 employees in the UK, Germany, USA and Australia found that for £5,000, a quarter would flog off sensitive data, potentially risking both their job and criminal convictions …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A simple patch

    Just pay your employees who have access to sensitive data accordingly.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A simple patch

      One might counter if your behaviour is modified primarily by money rather than morals and ethics you may be part of the problem.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A simple patch

        Morals and ethics don't pay bills and debt.

      2. Red Bren

        Re: A simple patch

        Morals don't pay the mortgage and you can't eat Ethics. If some spiv can tempt your staff to jeopardise their employment, perhaps the spiv values your data and employees more than you?

        My behaviour is modified by money; That's why I work.

        1. Triggerfish

          Re: A simple patch

          Depends, I have worked for an employer who used to drive in, in a 70K car, be pretty abusive, and spend a lot of time telling us how hard their life was because they were only paying themselves 16K (the tax paid for by the company dividends, car, reduction on mortagage for home office, phones, computers ipads etc etc apparently do not count as wages). They used to say things to their employees who they were paying 13K (and definetly underpaid) that they were the reason that even as a CEO they couldn't afford childcare.

          Someone like that, yeah I can see someone going fuck you.

          Morals and Ethics all very well, but its easier to keep them if your employer also has them.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: A simple patch

            Morals and Ethics all very well, but its easier to keep them if your employer also has them.

            Morals and ethics move downwards in any structure. That's why economies in countries with questionable politicians go to ruin and any company with management bereft of any ethics will soon be filled with people with a shortage of moral fibre - or find themselves on the receiving end of a whistleblower (because try as you may, fortunately the amount of people that are truly corrupt is still finite). Any attempt to address corruption, for instance, is bound to fail if you don't start at the top.

    2. Thomas Whipp

      Re: A simple patch

      there is pretty much no correlation between salary and access to data in my experience, there are lots of relatively low paid call center workers with access to "sensitive" data sets.

      This question is very much a "rational choice" model of offending and the main factor which would influence behavior (beyond personal ethics) will be the expectation of monitoring.

      Unless the sum of money is large enough to be prepared to lose the job and go to jail its the likelihood of getting caught which will be dominant. I'd say £50k is probably getting to that level for a lot of call center people (2-3 times gross salary)

      For a lot of organisations its the people who'd do it for free to make a moral point that could be more scary (e.g. Snowden)

  2. TheProf

    Opinion poll

    Another rubbish 'survey as news' item.

    There's a world of difference between what people tell pollsters and that they would actually do.

    See 2015 British General Election results compared to opinion poll results.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Opinion poll

      "There's a world of difference between what people tell pollsters and that they would actually do."

      And part of this is due to the prior questions asked. We're not told what these were in this case.

    2. ScottAS2

      Re: Opinion poll

      The 2015 Westminster Election polls actually got the result almost spot on. It was the analysis of them, and specifically the desire of the media to feed the hung parliament narrative, that was wrong.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    execs are workers too

    And probably the most likely to resist changing their ways.

    They're also among the most dangerous, and likely, insider threats. Most have the morals of a styreofoam cup and the tech smarts of a gerbil. The latter is the only thing that's saved most companies so far. But if you're going to audit, be sure to look particularly carefully at what's going on in the executive suites and the boardroom.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder...

    ...if these figures include the public sector? With "austerity" pay freezes I would hazard a guess that the figures in the public sector are probably a lot higher as money is tight and loyalty to central government all but non-existent.

  5. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    In other news

    A random survey of the people in my office says that 100% would consider themselves justified in giving ridiculous answers to ridiculous surveys. I am waiting for funding to extend the survey to the rest of the floor.

  6. John Robson Silver badge


    My password is horsebatterycorrectstaple - I'll have my chocolate bar please....

  7. 45RPM Silver badge

    It’s like that old joke with the punch line ‘We’ve established that you’re a prostitute, now we’re just bargaining on price’.

    Well my price is £100,000,000,000, to be held in escrow until all criminal and civil proceedings against me are complete. It’s not negotiable.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I favor a different approach. If you offer me money for something that I shouldn't give you, and the money is 'enough,' then I'll show up to make the transfer after picking up some folks from corporate security and the local police. BTW, I will be keeping the money.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        BTW, I will be keeping the money.

        You have received an income in front of witnesses. You'll be taxed...

        1. John Robson Silver badge

          Tax isn't the issue - you've just pissed off the mob...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Data for Peanuts

    I really like Planters Dry Roasted, lightly salted.

  9. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    some see problems I see opportunities

    A sort of auction site for companies data perhaps?

    If (shall we say) I had Company X's customer list what's it worth?

    And what's if I throw in their standard customer charging schedule?

    There customer base and the price level you'd have to beat to win their business.

    Shall we start the bidding at.......

  10. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Some people really are idiots

    Selling company data for 100 quid ? When you risk prison and a lifetime black mark on your CV that will prevent you from ever getting work anywhere again ?

    Please people, be reasonable. You agree to risk your employable future for money, fine, that is your right. But risk for something worthwhile.

    Something like €20 million. That should be enough to see you through the lengthy legal process and have something to retire with afterwords.

    Because you won't work again anyway, right ?

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Some people really are idiots

      I think you overestimate people otherwise what we call "petty crime" like purse snatchings, muggings,... misdemeanor kinds of crime, would be non-existent. There are those will do anything for a shilling/shekel/dollar/etc. and others will do it for revenge or just plain nastiness.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Some people really are idiots

      "Something like €20 million. That should be enough to see you through the lengthy legal process and have something to retire with afterwords."

      If you are going through "a lengthy legal process", then either you won't be able to keep the "proceeds of crime" for when you get out or you will be spending most of it on very high priced lawyers to "get you off"

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE. Re: Some people really are idiots

    I sometimes wonder if this will be how the infamous "classified patent" data will eventually get leaked.

    Someone who has access will send a copy via some channel (cough nasal cavity implanted memory chip with optical /passive WiFi interface /cough) that has been overlooked, in such a way that once on the Net it will go viral.

    Good luck putting that genie back in the bottle.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Misplaced loyalties

    I am a bit surprised at the apparently low price some people will accept.

    But one should not be surprised at the general drift: In most European countries, particularly Great Britain, jobs are being sent off shore or just removed as fast as possible; wages are being frozen at best and reduced either directly or by longer working hours fro the same wage. House prices and rents are rising, along with direct and indirect taxes. Meanwhile the income and other rewards of the senior management and certain workers seem to be getting ever further from reality and those of most people.

    Bonuses for people of dubious merit exceed many people's lifetime incomes and politicians support this. A junior minister was, recently, revealed to have complained he had to "watch the pennies" on a basic salary of £90,000 per year.

    Public services that enable some quality of life for most people are being privatised or "out-sourced" openly or deviously, while the few at the head of major firms and MPs acting as "consultants" make a killing.

    Is it really surprising if very many employees, even those at what looks like a reasonable salary, feel sufficiently alienated and exploited to lose all loyalty when their employees show none to their workers and the politicians seem more interested in businessmen or USA interests than the electorate and use "terror" to justify ever more dangerous control and intrusion?

  13. DougS Silver badge

    How do they poll people for something like this?

    If I had a random survey person call me up and ask me this question (I actually don't answer unknown numbers, and if I did and heard the word "survey" or "poll" I'd hang up immediately, but let's say I didn't) I would never answer this honestly.

    How do these people know the "pollster" isn't a third party hired by their employer to see who the untrustworthy employees are? The fact people are so willing to answer questions like this leads me to believe at least some companies have done exactly this, and use the employee's stated answers as justification for firing them. Heck, just make a list of employees you want to fire but don't have grounds to fire without paying unemployment, and "poll" them. If they admit they'd break strict company privacy/security policy for a day's pay, that sounds like a firing offense to me.

    To be clear: the "list of employees" I'm talking about isn't necessarily about discrimination - though it could be used like that. I'm thinking more in terms of employers who wish to cull the herd. If you need to lay off some people but want to minimize your costs, find reasons to fire some first. Or maybe you believe in decimation, and want to try to get rid of the 10% lowest performing employees every year.

  14. Conundrum1885

    Re. "bonuses"

    Does building a Sliding device (aka interdimensional facilitator) and going refugee to an alternate Earth count?

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