Arlington, Va., September 17, 2020 – As consumers, businesses, and students have moved online during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new survey by Touchdown Strategies and TechnoMetrica finds growing public concern about cyber threats. 46% of Americans say the situation around cybersecurity has gotten worse in the United States over the past year, while only 21% say the situation has gotten better.
This trend comes amid recent cyberattacks affecting both public and private institutions. In September 2020, hackers stole personal information – including student records – from Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia and demanded ransom. Last year, a breach at McLean, Virginia–based Capital One Financial Corp. exposed the data of over 100 million customers. And, U.S. intelligence officials have warned of efforts by foreign governments to compromise election infrastructure, including the possible theft of sensitive data.
“Challenges in cybersecurity today are extremely complicated, unprecedented, and dangerous, especially during COVID-19 and the 2020 U.S. elections,” said cybersecurity expert and Touchdown Strategies’ Senior Advisor Mark Pfeifle. “Companies, institutions, and governments must quickly adapt to the rapidly evolving information landscape and the risks and potential rewards of today’s digital security world.”
The new survey finds that 26% of Americans report having personal information stolen or compromised by hackers in the previous year, the most frequent being credit/debit card information in 12% of cases. The survey also found:
- Americans still mostly trust that institutions can protect personal information, especially financial institutions and health care providers, which have the confidence of 78% and 77% of Americans, respectively.
- Americans are less assured about the cybersecurity of schools and universities, which have the confidence of 46%. The public is concerned about U.S. election security with a 48% plurality saying they are not confident elections are safe from cyberattacks.
- 36% of Americans, a plurality, say companies themselves are primarily responsible for protecting customer data. But 48% believe that the federal government is doing too little to protect businesses from cyberattacks, while 22% say it is doing enough.
This nationwide online survey of 1,197 U.S. adults was conducted between August 29 to September 2, 2020. The full survey report is available here.
Touchdown Strategies and TechnoMetrica are partnering to provide custom research and analysis that supports data-driven public affairs, communications, and marketing strategies.