Russian And Chinese Cyber And Election Threats: Most Americans Worry – New Poll

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According to a survey released May 4, 51% of Americans think that Russia is more of a threat today than during the Cold War. 31% of Americans see Russia as the top cybersecurity threat, with North Korea and China as close seconds. 54% of Americans are concerned or very concerned about Russia’s potential influence on U.S. elections and in the White House. 38% of Americans think Russia hacked the 2016 U.S. elections, and 24% are not sure. 73% of Americans think the U.S. power grid is vulnerable to a foreign cyber attack, and 74% think that a cyber attack could take down the U.S. financial trading system. 42% of respondents think that a cyberattack could take control of a nuclear power plant, and 38% think that a cyberattack could sway a U.S. election.

The new data was released by Endgame, a Washington, D.C.-based cybersecurity firm.  “Amidst the ongoing investigations regarding the Trump campaign, Russia, and the election,” said a spokesman from Endgame, “it’s clear that Americans are still very concerned about what Russia could do in cyberspace and what that means for American safety.”

While Russia is certainly a cyberthreat, may well have swayed the U.S. Presidential election, and attacked Estonia, Georgia and Ukraine with cyberweapons, we should not underestimate the cyber threat from China. Russia relies extensively on criminal networks for its cyber capabilities, and criminals operate for profit not patriotism. This means they can be turned, and in the event of war that could be critical.

China, meanwhile, has a professional force of cyber warriors and likely a much larger cyber budget commensurate with a GDP that is 8 times that of Russia. China successfully stole over 20 million U.S. Office of Personnel Management confidential records of security clearance applicants in 2015, as well as plans for the F-35 stealth Joint Strike Fighter. Nevertheless, China is keeping its cyber powder relatively dry, which should not lure us into a false sense of security.

Endgame polled over 2,027 Americans over 18 using the SurveyMonkey polling service. The results have a margin of error of +/- 3%. The data was collected online (as opposed to phone polling), which means there could be bias toward frequent computer users. However, my examination of the raw and covariate data suggests the randomization resulted in a relatively evenly distributed sample by gender, age, income, and geographic region.

By Anders Corr

Forbes

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