Most Americans Believe a Tech-Enabled Terrorist Attack is Imminent

Most Americans Believe a Tech-Enabled Terrorist Attack is Imminent

A full 69% of Americans believe a major, technology-based terrorist threat is likely within the next three to five years.

Pace University announced poll findings that show that fear of these kinds of cyber-threats increases with age, reflecting a potential generational divide in how technology is understood and experienced.  

Only 58% of participants under 30 believed that a technology-based terrorist threat was imminent, while 85% of participants over 60 felt the same way. Men are also more likely to fear these kinds of cyber-attacks, with 76% responding yes, compared with only 61% of women.

“We live in extraordinary times. Just last weekend a cyberattack cut millions of Americans off from the internet,” said Pace University president Stephen Friedman. “And throughout the presidential election cycle, hacked emails have been released in an attempt to influence America’s most fundamental and democratic process. We are ever-more reliant on technology, and our vulnerability to cybercriminals and cyber-attacks increases in tandem.”

 “There is no electronic system that cannot be hacked,” added Joel Brenner, former Inspector General and senior counsel at the National Security Agency, who reviewed the findings.

The results dovetail with an earlier Gallup poll showing that Americans view cyber-terrorism as a leading threat to US vital interests in the next 10 years. In that study, US adults ranked cyber-terrorism (73%) along with international terrorism (79%) and development of nuclear weapons by Iran (75%) as the highest of a dozen potential threats.

This is the first year Gallup asked about cyber-terrorism, defined in the poll as "the use of computers to cause disruption or fear in society."

Interestingly, Gallup found that Republicans and Democrats, including independents who lean toward each party, differ considerably in their assessments of what constitutes a real danger to the vital interests of the US. Republicans and Republican-leaning independents are much more likely to categorize most issues as a "critical threat."

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Source: Information Security Magazine