Coffee or password--which would you choose?

Security vendor VeriSign found 66 percent would choose to give up their passwords for a Starbucks coffee, during an informal on-the-street survey conducted Thursday in San Francisco.

In an era of increased security concerns over protecting personal and corporate data, it's surprising to see that a cup of java can go a long way. An offer of World Cup tickets, well, that's another matter.

"A lot of people are still unaware of how this information can be used across the network and don't understand the implications," said Mark Griffiths, VeriSign marketing director for authentication services. "We're trying to educate the average user."

Survey participants, for example, said they felt comfortable revealing their passwords, because they were not asked to share their user name or logon. And while other people were not willing to release their password, they were agreeable to giving out hints--such as their mother's maiden name or the name of their dog, which are also frequently used as a second source of identification by Web sites.

Those that revealed their password or gave hints received a $3 gift card for Starbucks--the price of a latte.

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