Washington, DC – Three quarters of adults (75%) across 10 countries are fearful that cyber hackers are carrying out attacks to break into and either steal from or exploit and control major sectors and elements of the economy and its institutions in their country, according to a new global survey of over 5,000 adults conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of Honeywell. A quarter of respondents (25%) do not share this concern, though fewer than one in ten (6%) say that they are not at all fearful.
- Those in India (92%) and Japan (89%) are most likely to be worried, whereas Russian adults (53%) express the lowest level of overall concern.
Among those who are relatively unconcerned about cyber hackers (“not very fearful” or “not at all fearful”), no single factor stands out as a primary justification. Many (31%) say that this is because they believe the risk of something major actually happening is really quite low, particularly in Australia (52%). Other reasons for lower levels of concern include:
- The threat of cyber-attacks has been over-blown by the media (26%),
- Cyber hackers would have already done something big if they actually had these capabilities (25%),
- Computer and Internet security has been able to counter or block almost all of the threats (24%); or,
- Governments and its intelligence and armed forces will not let this happen (24%).
Few (6%) say that they aren’t fearful about cyber hackers hurting the economy and other institutions because they believe it would be impossible for hackers to actually control computers.
However, notable differences emerge across countries. Those in Great Britain who aren’t concerned about cyber hackers are most likely to say it’s due to overblown press coverage (38%). In Mexico, this lack of worry is more likely to be driven by the belief that something major would have happened already (38%). In both China (54%) and the United Arab Emirates (52%), majorities say that it is because their government and its intelligence and armed forces will not let this happen.
Though many are fearful about the damage that cyber hackers could do in their country, at the same time, six in ten (60%) say that they are confident that their government and its security and other agencies along with those in the private sector in their country are keeping up with these cyber hackers and their techniques in order to effectively defend against their attacks. Four in ten (40%) are not as sure about how well their country is able to defend against cyber hackers, including 10% who are not at all confident.
- Those in the United Arab Emirates (96%) are most confident, followed by India (79%), China (75%), and Russia (74%). Those in Brazil (41%) and Japan (24%) are among the least confident.
Among those who are not confident in their country’s ability to defend against cyber-attacks, a plurality (40%) say this is because hackers will just keep at it because at some point they will get in. This is the top reason among those in most markets surveyed, including Australia (57%), the US (52%), China (48%), Great Britain (48%), Brazil (47%), and Russia (38%).
Likewise, many lack confidence the believe that government and its security and other agencies along with those in the private sector won't be able to stop all of them no matter what they do (36%), or because they just can't keep up with the threats (35%). A similar proportion (36% globally) reports that they don’t have much faith in their country’s ability to keep up with cyber hackers because they feel that governments and their agencies are just not taking these threats seriously enough, particularly those in India (61%), China (48%), and Mexico (47%).
A quarter (24%) are concerned because they feel that corporations are just not taking these threats seriously enough, while 20%say it is because their government and its security and other agencies along with those in the private sector in their country don't have the money or resources to combat the threats. One in ten (9%) say that they lack confidence for some other reason.
Vulnerability of Different Sectors
Thinking about different industry sectors (which have varying degrees of computer and internet security systems in place to guard against cyber hackers), majorities of respondents globally see all industry sectors listed as being vulnerable to cyber cyber hacker attacks to break into and either steal from or exploit and control major sectors and elements. Sectors most likely to be perceived as vulnerable to such attacks include telecommunications/information technology (72%), the financial sector (71%), and government/public administration (69%). Nearly as many see travel/tourism (66%), oil and gas production (64%), Medical/health care/pharmaceuticals (64%), power grid (63%), chemicals (61%) and aerospace/defense (59%) as being susceptible to cyber hackers.
- Those in Australia, the United States and India tend to be more likely to see each of these sectors as vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted September 2- 16, 2014. For the survey, a sample of 5,065 adults across 10 countries was interviewed online. This included approximately 500 interviews in each of Australia, Mexico, Russia, Brazil, China, India, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, Great Britain and the United States. Results are weighted to the general adult population ages 16–64 in each country (or in the U.S. 18–64). A survey with an unweighted probability sample of 5,065 adults and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 1.4 percentage point, 19 times out of 20 of what the results would have been had the entire population of adults in the participating countries been polled. Each individual country would have an estimated margin of error of 4.4 percentage points. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.
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