All the recent talk coming out of Washington about cyberwarfare and dangerous hackers seems to be having an effect, according to the results of a survey released yesterday.
More than 90 percent of Americans believe the U.S. government and U.S. corporations are vulnerable to digital attacks, and they think the president should be able to respond to such attacks, the survey, commissioned by Tenable Network Security of Columbia, Md., revealed.
"It's clear American citizens see the threat of cyber conflict around the corner, and the nation's state of readiness for such attacks is a major concern," Ron Gula, Tenable chief executive officer and chief technology officer, said in a press statement.
Sixty percent of respondents favored an increase in government spending to train "cyberwarriors," with only 10 percent opposed.
Sixty-six percent agreed with the statement that corporations should be held responsible for data breaches and intrusions upon their networks.
But an almost equal number, 62 percent, said the government should be in charge of protecting U.S. corporations and other businesses from digital attacks.
"I think these rather conflicting results on who should be held accountable reveal that Americans want both the public and private sector working closely together on cyber security," Gula said.
Repeated warnings of "cyber Pearl Harbors" have also sunk in, with 92 percent of respondents agreeing that public utilities are vulnerable to cyberattacks from other nations.
If such an attack were to occur, a plurality of 37 percent said they would be most worried about disruptions to physical utilities, such as water and energy.
Thirty percent worried about disruptions of financial services; 21 percent were concerned about communications being cut off; and 7 percent feared standstills of transport networks.
Some demographic differences were revealed by the survey. More men (68 percent) than women (54 percent) wanted increased funding of cyberwarfare training.
More people over age 65 (26 percent) than people aged 25-34 (9 percent) expected the United States to engage in cyberwarfare within the next decade.
"Given this strong level of support across age groups and demographics, we may see cyber security move up the list of critical policy and legislative proposals," Gula said.
Tenable said the survey was conducted online from Feb. 7 to Feb. 11 by market-research firms Qualtrics of Provo, Utah and Research Now of Plano, Texas. Of 1,100 adults over age 18 approached to participate, 1,021 responded.