An overwhelming majority of Americans believe their personal online actions can help make cyberspace safer for everyone, according to a national survey released today by the National Cyber Security Alliance and the Anti-Phishing Working Group.
The poll revealed 96 percent of American adults feel a personal responsibility to be safer and more secure online, while 93 percent said their online actions can protect not only friends and family, but also help to make the web safer for everyone around the world.
Americans feel most vulnerable about the loss or theft of their personal or financial information. More than half of survey participants said the prospect of losing this data “extremely concerned” them. Losing personal or financial information ranked similar to concern over job loss (53 percent) and not being able to provide healthcare for their family (51 percent).
Considering specific risks within online use, identity theft ranked as a major fear, with nearly one-third of Americans reporting identity theft as their greatest concern to personal safety and security on the Internet. The fear of someone hacking into their financial information or accounts ranked a close second, with 25 percent of Americans listing it as their greatest worry.
According to the survey, Americans feel safest online when they are taking independent action for their own Internet security. Sixty one percent believe much of online safety and security falls under their personal control, and 90 percent said they want to learn more about keeping safer on the Internet.
When asked why they fail to take action to stay safer online, most Americans said they simply lacked the information or knowledge. Only 12 percent said online safety was too costly, while 5 percent said they were too busy to take the extra measure.