Survey: Three in four Americans fear cyberattacks most after ISIS terrorism

(Cyberwar.news) While a new survey found that most Americans fear the Islamic State’s brand of terrorism, three-in-four also fear something else nearly as much: Cyber attacks.

In a recent survey, Pew Research asked 2,000 Americans to react to various potential international threats, and ISIS was No. 1 again, just like last year. But this year, nearly 75 percent of Americans said they were increasingly concerned about cyber attacks on vulnerable government and private sector infrastructure.

“Cyberattacks from other countries rank second on the public’s list of global threats: 72% say they are a major threat, while about two-thirds (67%) view global economic instability as a major threat,” Pew said in a report discussing the survey’s results.

Last year’s breach of the Office of Personnel Management, most likely by Chinese hackers, no doubt led to heightened concerns about cyber breaches and state-sponsored hacking. The OPM hack resulted in the theft of more than 21 million Social Security numbers and other data on current and former U.S. government employees, Defense One reported, including more than 5 million fingerprints.

In recent months the U.S. government has ratcheted up efforts to publicly point fingers at, and charge, foreign-based hackers for targeting American companies and government IT systems. During a single week in March the FBI’s list of most-wanted cyber criminals grew by almost 50 percent, after the agency announced charges against two Syrians and seven Iranians.

Cyber warfare and security issues has not ranked this high on Americans’ minds since 2013 when, for the first time, cyberattacks ranked as a top threat – second, below that of al Qaeda and other Islamic extremists.

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