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Protect passwords? Not if latte is free

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Security

Would you give up your computer passwords for a Starbucks latte? ``imasexyguy'' did. So did ``raiderfan.'' The football fanatic even gave it to a radio reporter -- to put on the air. And then he told the interviewer he still wasn't going to change it.

In a marketing stunt designed to shine a light on sloppy personal cybersecurity, VeriSign on Thursday offered passersby in downtown San Francisco $3 coffee coupons if they would reveal their passwords to survey-takers.

Two-thirds of the 272 respondents turned over their passwords without flinching. The rain and then a BART bomb scare seemed more problematic. A few who said they simply would give a made-up password were dropped from the results, though they did get free coffee. And with a little coaxing, 70 percent of those who said ``no way'' gave up significant hints, like wife's name, anniversary date and the ever popular pet's name.

One executive, too busy to stop, sent his secretary back with his password so he could get the free coffee. She gave up hers, too.

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