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
White House Cybersecurity Strategy at a Crossroads
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  7/17/2018
Mueller Probe Yields Hacking Indictments for 12 Russian Military Officers
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  7/13/2018
10 Ways to Protect Protocols That Aren't DNS
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  7/16/2018
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2018-12959
PUBLISHED: 2018-07-19
The approveAndCall function of a smart contract implementation for Aditus (ADI), an Ethereum ERC20 token, allows attackers to steal assets (e.g., transfer all contract balances into their account).
CVE-2018-14336
PUBLISHED: 2018-07-19
TP-Link WR840N devices allow remote attackers to cause a denial of service (connectivity loss) via a series of packets with random MAC addresses.
CVE-2018-10620
PUBLISHED: 2018-07-19
AVEVA InduSoft Web Studio v8.1 and v8.1SP1, and InTouch Machine Edition v2017 8.1 and v2017 8.1 SP1 a remote user could send a carefully crafted packet to exploit a stack-based buffer overflow vulnerability during tag, alarm, or event related actions such as read and write, with potential for code t...
CVE-2018-14423
PUBLISHED: 2018-07-19
Division-by-zero vulnerabilities in the functions pi_next_pcrl, pi_next_cprl, and pi_next_rpcl in lib/openjp3d/pi.c in OpenJPEG through 2.3.0 allow remote attackers to cause a denial of service (application crash).
CVE-2018-3857
PUBLISHED: 2018-07-19
An exploitable heap overflow exists in the TIFF parsing functionality of Canvas Draw version 4.0.0. A specially crafted TIFF image processed via the application can lead to an out-of-bounds write, overwriting arbitrary data. An attacker can deliver a TIFF image to trigger this vulnerability and gain...