Survey: Most Americans Don’t Worry About Cybersecurity Despite Increased Attacks


Respondents are more worried about their personal safety and the economy.

More than two in three Americans are not concerned about internet security despite a massive spike in cyber activity targeting people working remotely due to the coronavirus, according a global security study published Tuesday.

The 2020 Unisys Security Index—based on surveys of more than 15,000 consumers in 15 countries conducted in March and April—found that among Americans, cybersecurity concerns around working from home dropped 13 points in the past year despite a significant rise in cyberattacks during the pandemic.

Overall, 70% of Americans said they were not concerned about their data security or being scammed while working from home, even as the Federal Trade Commission reported 52,000 new online fraud cases and the FBI disclosed a 400% increase in online crimes reported to its Internet Crime Complaint Center.  

The security index takes annual measures on consumer concern in areas of cybersecurity, national security, personal security and economic security. In the latest edition, Americans reported a 19% decrease in national security concerns. Conversely, Americans reported increases in concern around personal safety and economic stability, with 60% either very concerned or extremely concerned about the economy.

“It’s not surprising to see people’s level of concern for their personal safety jump in light of the global health crisis. However, the fact that it is not only matched by, but exceeded by, a drop in concerns around hacking, scamming or online fraud reflects a false sense of consumer security,” said Unisys Chief Information Security Officer Mat Newfield. “Hackers target healthcare and essential services organizations looking to steal intellectual property and intelligence, such as details on national health policies and COVID-19 research. And hackers are relying on tricks like ‘password spraying,’ which involves an attacker repeatedly using common passwords on many accounts to gain access, putting our most critical infrastructures at risk potentially from the click of a single working-from-home employee.”

The index reports security concerns in all countries are higher among women than men and differed based on age. In the U.S., the survey found concern among women was 12 points higher than among men, and 13 points higher among 18-to-24-year-olds of all genders than those aged 55 to 65.