Cyberattacks concerning to most in US: Pearson/AP-NORC poll

The poll by The Pearson Institute and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows that about 9 in 10 Americans are at least somewhat concerned about hacking that involves their personal information, financial institutions, government agencies or certain utilities.

Associated Press

Oct 11, 2021, 6:41 PM

Updated 926 days ago

Share:

Cyberattacks concerning to most in US: Pearson/AP-NORC poll
Most Americans across party lines have serious concerns about cyberattacks on U.S. computer systems and view China and Russia as major threats, according to a new poll.
The poll by The Pearson Institute and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows that about 9 in 10 Americans are at least somewhat concerned about hacking that involves their personal information, financial institutions, government agencies or certain utilities. About two-thirds say they are very or extremely concerned.
Roughly three-quarters say the Chinese and Russian governments are major threats to the cybersecurity of the U.S. government, and at least half also see the Iranian government and non-government bodies as threatening.
The broad consensus highlights the growing impacts of cyberattacks in an increasingly connected world and could boost efforts by President Joe Biden and lawmakers to force critical industries to boost their cyber defenses and impose reporting requirements for companies that get hacked. The poll comes amid a wave of high-profile ransomware attacks and cyber espionage campaigns in the last year that have compromised sensitive government records and led to the shutdown of the operations of energy companies, hospitals, schools and others.
“It’s pretty uncommon nowadays to find issues that both large majorities of Republicans and Democrats” view as a problem, said David Sterrett, a senior research scientist at The AP-NORC Center.
Biden has made cybersecurity a key issue in his young administration and federal lawmakers are considering legislation to strengthen both public and private cyber defenses.
Michael Daniel, CEO of the Cyber Threat Alliance and a former top cybersecurity official during the Obama administration, said the poll shows the public is firmly aware of the kind of threats posed online that cybersecurity experts have been stressing for years.
"We don't need to do a whole lot more awareness raising,” he said.
The explosion in the last year of ransomware, in which cyber criminals encrypt an organization's data and then demand payment to unscramble it, has underscored how gangs of extortionist hackers can disrupt the economy and put lives and livelihoods at risk.
One of the cyber incidents with the greatest consequences this year was a ransomware attack in May on the company that owns the nation’s largest fuel pipeline, which led to gas shortages along the East Coast. A few weeks later, a ransomware attack on the world’s largest meat processing company disrupted production around the world.
Victims of ransomware attacks have ranged from key U.S. agencies and Fortune 500 companies to small entities like Leonardtown, Maryland, which was one of hundreds of organizations affected worldwide when software company Kaseya was hit by ransomware during the Forth of July weekend.
“We ended up being very lucky but it definitely opened our eyes that it could happen to anyone,” said Laschelle McKay, the town administrator. She said Leonardtown's I.T. provider was able to restore the town's network and files after several days.
The criminal syndicates that dominate the ransomware business are mostly Russian-speaking and operate with near impunity out of Russia or countries allied with Russia. The U.S. government has also blamed Russian spies for a major breach of U.S. government agencies known as the SolarWinds hack, so named for the U.S. software company whose product was used in the hacking.
China has also been active. In July, the Biden administration formally blamed China for a massive hack of Microsoft Exchange email server software and asserted that criminal hackers associated with the Chinese government have carried out ransomware attacks and other illicit cyber operations.
“The amount of Chinese cyber actors dwarfs the rest of the globe, combined,” Rob Joyce, the director of cybersecurity at the National Security Agency, said at a recent conference. “The elite in that group really are elite. It’s a law of large numbers.”
Both Russia and China have denied any wrongdoing.
Older adults are much more likely to view Russia and China as serious threats. A large majority of adults over 60 say the Russian and the Chinese governments are a big threat, but only about half of those under 30 agree.
Democrats — at 79% — are somewhat more likely than Republicans — at 70% — to say the Russian government is a big threat. Former President Donald Trump, a Republican, has routinely downplayed Russian aggression. In his first comments after the SolarWinds hack was discovered in December, Trump contradicted his secretary of state and other top officials and suggested without evidence that China was behind the campaign.


More from News 12
1:53
Plenty of sunshine today with cooler temps for New Jersey; freeze watch until Friday

Plenty of sunshine today with cooler temps for New Jersey; freeze watch until Friday

0:20
NJ Transit rail service into and out of Penn Station New York delayed due to overhead power issues

NJ Transit rail service into and out of Penn Station New York delayed due to overhead power issues

2:10
Threatening message found at Dwight-Englewood middle school

Threatening message found at Dwight-Englewood middle school

1:53
Shop Mother’s Day Gifts – Exclusive Offers Up to 75% OFF!

Shop Mother’s Day Gifts – Exclusive Offers Up to 75% OFF!

0:36
New Jersey Instagram fraudster 'Jay Mazini' sentenced for his crypto scheme that preyed on Muslims

New Jersey Instagram fraudster 'Jay Mazini' sentenced for his crypto scheme that preyed on Muslims

0:51
Wildfire in Wharton State Forest consumes more than 400 acres of land

Wildfire in Wharton State Forest consumes more than 400 acres of land

0:26
Union police searching for missing 60-year-old man last seen at Whole Foods parking lot

Union police searching for missing 60-year-old man last seen at Whole Foods parking lot

0:24
Fanwood police warn of possible concert ticket scams on Facebook

Fanwood police warn of possible concert ticket scams on Facebook

2:19
How to protect spring plants from frost and freeze

How to protect spring plants from frost and freeze

Ready to explore the great outdoors? These 14 tips can help you stay safe while hiking

Ready to explore the great outdoors? These 14 tips can help you stay safe while hiking

1:13
The East End: Shou Sugi Ban House in Watermill

The East End: Shou Sugi Ban House in Watermill

2:54
Longtime Democratic US Rep. Donald Payne Jr. dies at 65 following heart attack

Longtime Democratic US Rep. Donald Payne Jr. dies at 65 following heart attack

0:56
Passaic to get $1.6M in federal funds to reduce flash flooding where 2 people died

Passaic to get $1.6M in federal funds to reduce flash flooding where 2 people died

2:56
Doctors combine a pig kidney transplant and a heart device in a bid to extend New Jersey woman's life

Doctors combine a pig kidney transplant and a heart device in a bid to extend New Jersey woman's life

0:43
Jersey Proud: Manchester HS students teach older generation about tech

Jersey Proud: Manchester HS students teach older generation about tech

2:23
'The tower is an eyesore.' Demolition of former Nabisco factory tower set to begin after 1-year delay

'The tower is an eyesore.' Demolition of former Nabisco factory tower set to begin after 1-year delay

1:03
Rep. Gottheimer announces another attempt to put an end to NYC’s congestion pricing plan

Rep. Gottheimer announces another attempt to put an end to NYC’s congestion pricing plan

0:29
Former Wawa gas attendant accused of stealing thousands of dollars from customers

Former Wawa gas attendant accused of stealing thousands of dollars from customers

1:33
AAA: New Jersey gas prices increase nearly 20 cents from last week

AAA: New Jersey gas prices increase nearly 20 cents from last week

2:12
Princeton University accused of violating civil rights of Jewish students

Princeton University accused of violating civil rights of Jewish students