Following a U.S. indictment of five Chinese military hackers charged with stealing commercial secrets, slightly fewer American voters are willing to call a major cyberattack on the United States by another country an act of war. But a plurality continues to be believe cyberattacks pose a bigger economic threat than traditional military attacks.
A national telephone survey of 1,000 likely American voters found that 85 percent are at least somewhat concerned about the safety of America’s computer infrastructure from cyberattack, including 43 percent who are very concerned. Just 13 percent are not very or not at all concerned about such an attack.
The level of concern about cyberattacks is unchanged from April of last year.
But now 46 percent of voters believe a major cyberattack on the United States by another country should be viewed as an act of war, down from 55 percent a year ago and 53 percent in 2011. Twenty-eight percent disagree, but 26 percent more are not sure.
Unchanged over the past few years is the 45 percent of voters who think a cyberattack by another country poses a greater economic threat to the United States than a traditional military attack. Twenty-six percent still regard a traditional attack as the greater threat. Twenty-nine percent are not sure.
However, just 12 percent feel it is possible to make any computer system completely safe from a cyberattack. Sixty-three percent think this level of security is not possible. Twenty-five percent aren’t sure. These findings, too, are little changed from previous surveys.
Fifty-four percent think America’s increasing reliance on the Internet for business and financial transactions makes the economy more vulnerable to attack.