Cyber ​​attacks that most people in the United States care about: Pearson/AP-NORC polls

Richmond, Virginia (Associated Press)-Most cross-party Americans express serious concerns about cyber attacks on American computer systems and believe that China with Russia A new opinion poll showed that as the main threat.

Opinion polls by the Pearson Institute and the Associated Press-NORC Public Affairs Research Center show that about nine in ten Americans are at least somewhat worried about hacking involving their personal information, financial institutions, government agencies, or certain public utilities. About two-thirds said they were very or very worried.

About three-quarters said that the Chinese and Russian governments are the main threats to the U.S. government’s cybersecurity, and at least half of them also believe that the Iranian government and non-governmental organizations pose a threat.

The broad consensus highlights the growing impact of cyber attacks in an increasingly interconnected world, and may push President Biden and lawmakers to work to force key industries to strengthen their cyber defenses and impose reporting requirements on companies that have been hacked. Last year, a wave of high-profile ransomware attacks and cyber espionage undermined sensitive government records and caused the operation of energy companies, hospitals, schools, and other institutions to shut down.

David Sterrett, a senior research scientist at the AP-NORC Center, said: “Today, it is very rare to find a problem that most Republicans and Democrats consider to be a problem.”

Biden made cyber security a key issue in his young government, and federal lawmakers are considering legislation to strengthen public and private cyber defenses.

Michael Daniel, CEO of the Cyber ​​Threat Alliance and a former senior cyber security official during the Obama administration, said that polls show that the public is very aware of the types of online threats that cyber security experts have been emphasizing for years.

“We don’t need to do more awareness-raising work,” he said.

The outbreak of ransomware last year, in which cybercriminals encrypt an organization’s data and then demand payment to decrypt it, highlights how ransomware gangs can disrupt the economy and put lives and livelihoods at risk.

One of the most serious cyber incidents this year was a ransomware attack on a company with the nation’s largest fuel pipeline in May, which caused a shortage of gas on the East Coast. A few weeks later, a ransomware attack targeting the world’s largest meat processing company disrupted global production.

The victims of ransomware attacks range from major US institutions and Fortune 500 companies to small entities like Leonardtown, Maryland. When the software company Kaseya was attacked by ransomware on the weekend of July 4, the company was global One of hundreds of affected organizations.

“We were very lucky in the end, but it really opened our eyes. It could happen to anyone,” said town administrator Laschelle McKay. She said the IT provider in Leonardtown was able to restore the town’s network and files in a few days.

The criminal groups that dominate the ransomware business are mostly Russian-speaking and have little punishment Russia Or allied countries RussiaThe US government also accused Russian spies of major sabotage to US government agencies called the SolarWinds hacking incident. The SolarWinds hacking incident was named after the American software company whose products were used for hacking.

China Has been active. In July, the Biden administration officially accused China The Microsoft Exchange email server software was attacked by large-scale hackers, and criminal hackers alleged to be related to the Chinese government carried out ransomware attacks and other illegal network operations.

Rob Joyce, director of cyber security at the National Security Agency, said at a recent conference: “The number of Chinese cyber actors dwarfs the sum of the rest of the world.” “The elites in that group are indeed elites. This is the law of large numbers. .”

Both Russia with China Deny any wrongdoing.

Older people are more likely to watch Russia with China As a serious threat. Most adults over 60 see the Russian and Chinese governments as a huge threat, but only about half of adults under 30 agree.

Democrats-79%-than Republicans-70%-are more likely to see the Russian government as a huge threat. Former Republican President Donald Trump often downplays Russian aggression.In his first comment after the discovery of the SolarWinds hack in December last year, Trump rebutted his Secretary of State and other senior officials, implying without evidence China Behind the scenes of the election campaign.

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AP-NORC conducted a poll of 1,071 adults from September 9 to 13, using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Omnibus, which was designed to represent the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents was plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

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