UK businesses think that their staff could be the weak link in the fight against cybercrime - and a new course has been launched to turn everyone from CEOs to receptionists into security whizzkids.
Security consultancy Commissum and e-learning firm Absolutely Training today announced the launch of a training programme designed to give non-technical staff a firm grounding in avoiding security pitfalls.
The course is designed to "train employees to understand, recognise and deal with" electronic threats.
A survey of office workers in London found that almost three quarters would reveal their network-access password in exchange for a bar of chocolate.
The survey was conducted by the organizers of Infosecurity Europe 2004, a security exhibition to be held in London next week. They offered 172 commuters at Liverpool Street Station a bar of chocolate if they would reveal their corporate password.
The British are blase about keeping sensitive personal data confidential. More than 60 per cent of 100 people approached in the street by researchers were happy to give clues about the type of password they used (such as date of birth or family names) on online banking or ecommerce sites. Combine this with other information, obtained through various social engineering tricks, and it is fairly easy to piece together a potential victim's online identity.
With the proliferation of operating systems, applications and internet access points (both broadband and Wi-Fi), demand for data backup and storage has grown at an unbelievable rate.
Threats to data security also are on the increase; worries over terrorism, utility black-outs, natural disasters and even civil disorder are contributing to the growth of business continuity solutions.
Internet users have learned to keep an eye out for viruses, worms and "spam" e-mail.
Add another online hazard to the list: spyware.
Programs that hide in users' computers and secretly monitor their activities are emerging as the next high-tech plague, experts say.
Spyware can sap computing power, crash machines and bury users under a blizzard of unwanted ads. It can capture passwords, credit-card numbers and other sensitive data.
Spyware has even begun to burrow into popular culture.