A survey Stateside has revealed that that IT workers sometimes use their security knowledge to sneak a peek at their colleagues' personal information.

US information security company Cyber-Ark surveyed 300 American senior IT professionals, and found that one third admitted to secretly snooping.

And a whooping 47% said they had accessed information that was not relevant to their role.

Information accessed included confidential data such as colleagues' salary details, personal emails or board-meeting minutes.

"All you need is access to the right passwords or privileged accounts and you're privy to everything that's going on within your company", Mark Fullbrook, Cyber-Ark's UK director, said in a statement released along with the survey results.

"For most people, administrative passwords are a seemingly innocuous tool used by the IT department to update or amend systems. To those 'in the know' they are the keys to the kingdom."

And, more worryingly, because companies are often slack about changing the privileged passwords, ex-employees can often access information as well.

The survey revealed that 30% of these passwords are changed every quarter and 9% are never changed at all.