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By Devon Warren-Kachelein
Wed | Oct 13, 2021 | 4:15 AM PDT

We are finally at the precipice of broad cybersecurity awareness if the data of a new poll have anything to say about it. 

While the U.S. seems divided on a long list of issues, when it comes to cyber threats, most Americans agree there is trouble on the horizon. More than 90% understand the urgency of mitigating the risks of cyberattacks. 

The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and Pearson Institute partnered to conduct a survey in September about cyberattacks in the U.S., which led to astounding results.

Those taking the survey came from a variety of backgrounds and age groups and consisted of 1,071 people total.

This poll was completed as a precursor to discussions held at the 2021 Pearson Global Forum, which will feature a discussion about cyberattacks. According to the brief:

"A majority of adults are very concerned about cyber-attacks across a wide range of sectors, including financial, defense, and infrastructure. And 62% are concerned about the vulnerability of their own information and data. Less than 1 in 5 are not concerned at all about cyber-attacks on these U.S. institutions."

9 in 10 Americans are worried about cyberattacks, poll says

According to the findings, more than 90% of Americans are concerned about cyberattacks in the U.S. In the group surveyed, more than half had major worries about the protection of their data, especially related to financial institutions.

"91% are at least somewhat concerned about cyber-attacks on U.S. financial institutions and their own data, including 68% who are very concerned."

With initiatives by the U.S. government, the rise of ransomware attacks, and other cyber vulnerabilities becoming more regularly reported in consumer media, it is not necessarily surprising that Americans are beginning to see the weaponry of cyber tools as increasingly menacing.

Russia and China APT actors pose significant threat for most

In cybersecurity, it is no secret that, in terms of nation-state cyberattacks, Russia and China are considered the more aggressive and potentially destructive for their technological advancements.

Russian and Chinese governments have publicly balked when it comes to admitting any violations. SecureWorld News has covered issues related to nation-state hackers connected to these countries, and SecureWorld's experts have discussed the threats they could pose.

Regardless of age demographic, Americans polled believe China and Russia pose the worst threats, with only a single percentage difference.

"China and Russia are viewed as the biggest threats to U.S. cybersecurity (73% and 72%)."

In a major story this week, the Department of Defense Chief Software Officer resigned, stating the U.S. has "no chance" of competing with China, which gives some insight into the growing threat as China's technology improves.

The FBI has also spoken openly about the Russian government's inaction to crackdown on ransomware gangs

Iran, difference of thought, and other stats from the poll

Getting into the weeds of age demographics, there is some variety of thought. Keep in mind, these differences in thinking were not significant ones in the overall results of this particular study.

The survey found older Americans tended to blame China squarely—more than 8 in 10. Younger Americans polled were split, with half believing China was a significant threat, half not so much. 

"88% of adults age 60 and older say that the Chinese government is a serious threat to the cybersecurity of the U.S. government, compared to 53% of adults age 18-29."

According to the data, Democrats see Russia as a more significant emerging threat than China.  

"While majorities in both parties see both Russia and China as cybersecurity threats, Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say the Russian government is a big threat (79% vs. 70%)."

Iran was also considered high for nation-state threats, but significantly less compared to what folks thought about Russia and China.

What are your thoughts on this study? Click here to read it for yourself, or go to the website at apnorc.org. 

[RESOURCE] Are you looking for more ways to bring a culture of cybersecurity to your organization? Tune into SecureWorld's Remote Sessions webcast, Always Aware: Continuing Your Cybersecurity Awareness Month Journey, to earn CPE credit and help spread tips to your colleagues. 

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