A recent survey by endpoint security platform provider Endgame showed that more than half (51%) of Americans think that Russia is more dangerous now than it was during the 40-year Cold War period that ended with the breakup of the Soviet Union.
An even larger percentage — 58% — have little faith to no faith in the U.S. government to defend against foreign cyber attacks, and 53% are either “concerned” or “very concerned” about Russian influence in the Trump White House.
Endgame polled more than 2,000 Americans over the age of 18 in its survey. The survey, conducted by SurveyMonkey, was relatively evenly divided into four age cohorts: 18 to 29 year olds; 30 to 44 year olds; 45 to 59 year olds; and 60+ years of age.
Just over 50% of the youngest group thought that Russia was a bigger threat now, the lowest percentage of any group. About 53% of Americans over 60 years old think the Russian threat is greater now than it was during the Cold War. And they lived through the Cold War!
The firm summed up its findings this way:
[We] found that the majority of the country views Russia as our greatest cyber threat, is concerned about Russia’s influence in US elections and the White House, understands the material damage that a foreign power could accomplish through a cyber attack, and does not believe the U.S. government is adequately equipped to protect its citizens against foreign cyber attacks.
When asked which entity posed the greatest cybersecurity threat to the United States, nearly 31% indicated Russia. U.S. insiders ranked second, named by 19.5% of respondents, just ahead of North Korea, which was named by 19.3%. China was fourth at 17.8% and Iran, at 4.8%, was fifth.
Respondents were also asked to choose from a list of six possible targets of a cyber attack by a foreign government (multiple choices were allowed):
- Take down the power grid: 73%
- Control a nuclear power plant: 42%
- Shut down financial trading systems: 74%
- Launch a U.S. missile: 29%
- Elect a preferred candidate to public office: 38%
- Motivate a physical war: 45%
Less than 10% responded that none of these could happen.
Respondents were evenly split on the question of whether or not Russia hacked the 2016 election: 37% answer “yes” and 37% answered “no” with the remaining 26% saying they weren’t sure.
Americans are also highly skeptical of the U.S. government’s ability to defend against cyber attacks by a foreign government. Just 3.8% said they were “very confident” and 18.3% said they were “confident” that the government could defend the country against a cyber attack.
Some 41.3% are “mostly unconfident” and nearly 17% “have no faith” in the ability of the U.S. government to defend against a cyber attack.
Endgame’s full report is available at the company’s website.