Vulnerabilities / Threats
9/22/2017
11:00 AM
50%
50%

Americans Rank Criminal Hacking as Their Number One Threat

Global warming and artificial intelligence rate as less of a threat to human health, safety, and prosperity, than getting hacked, according to a survey released today.

Criminal hacking is the greatest threat to Americans' well-being, according to a new survey that found it outranks air pollution, motor vehicle accidents, and artificial intelligence.

The online random survey conducted by ESET, which queried 740 American respondents via SurveyMonkey, asked participants to rate 15 types of risks, from "no risk at all" to "very high risk," as it relates to human health, safety, or prosperity. The participants were left to interpret their own definition of criminal hacking, says Stephen Cobb, ESET senior security researcher.

Criminal hacking scored a weighted average of 5.41, compared to the survey's overall weighted average of 4.92. Not far behind hacking in the rankings was air pollution, with a rating of 5.33, and disposal of hazardous waste in landfills at 5.24.

"It's pure speculation on my part as to why criminal hacking was rated the highest, but one suggestion is criminals breaking into computers is a more immediate threat," Cobb says. "Maybe the headlines in the news also made a difference. The survey was done right after WannaCry and NotPetya."

"One takeaway for enterprises looking at these results is that criminal hacking as a threat to the general well-being of Americans is right up there in Americans' consciousness. This signals to companies that they need to take security seriously," Cobb warns.

Age and Wealth Matter

Americans' views on the risk criminal hacking poses to their well-being varies depending on their age and wealth, the survey shows.

Survey respondents between the ages of 45- to 59-years-old expressed the highest concern for criminal hacking, with 65% rating it a "very high" or "high" threat to their well-being. The next largest age group with similar concerns were respondents 60-years-old and beyond (55%), followed by 18- to 29-year-olds (49%), and 30- to 44-year-olds (47%).

Older people say they limit their Internet use because it reduces their risk of a cyberattack, explains Lysa Myers, an ESET security researcher. Younger people are on the Internet all the time and it would be harder for them to justify that if they felt they were putting their well-being at risk, she notes.

Meanwhile, 58% of survey respondents with household incomes of $75,000 or less rate criminal hacking as a "very high" or "high" risk to their well-being, compared to 48% of survey participants with incomes higher than $75,000, according to the survey.

"If you are working two jobs and have to take time off to sort out identity theft, you may be more concerned about the risk," Cobb says. "People from more well-funded households may feel less risk."

Join Dark Reading LIVE for two days of practical cyber defense discussions. Learn from the industry’s most knowledgeable IT security experts. Check out the INsecurity agenda here.

Related Content:

Dawn Kawamoto is an Associate Editor for Dark Reading, where she covers cybersecurity news and trends. She is an award-winning journalist who has written and edited technology, management, leadership, career, finance, and innovation stories for such publications as CNET's ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Printers: The Weak Link in Enterprise Security
Kelly Sheridan, Associate Editor, Dark Reading,  10/16/2017
20 Questions to Ask Yourself before Giving a Security Conference Talk
Joshua Goldfarb, Co-founder & Chief Product Officer, IDDRA,  10/16/2017
Why Security Leaders Can't Afford to Be Just 'Left-Brained'
Bill Bradley, SVP, Cyber Engineering and Technical Services, CenturyLink,  10/17/2017
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Security Vulnerabilities: The Next Wave
Just when you thought it was safe, researchers have unveiled a new round of IT security flaws. Is your enterprise ready?
Flash Poll
The State of Ransomware
The State of Ransomware
Ransomware has become one of the most prevalent new cybersecurity threats faced by today's enterprises. This new report from Dark Reading includes feedback from IT and IT security professionals about their organization's ransomware experiences, defense plans, and malware challenges. Find out what they had to say!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2017-0290
Published: 2017-05-09
NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

CVE-2016-10369
Published: 2017-05-08
unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

CVE-2016-8202
Published: 2017-05-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

CVE-2016-8209
Published: 2017-05-08
Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

CVE-2017-0890
Published: 2017-05-08
Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.