Americans Stressed Out by Cyber-attack Coverage

Written by

Most Americans and Canadians say that news of ransomware attacks and data breaches causes them to experience stress.

An online survey of 2,500 adults in Canada and the United States found that in relation to cybersecurity, seven in ten respondents (69%) said news of data breaches caused them stress. 

The research, which was conducted in July 2021 by research firm Opinion Matters for cybersecurity company Kaspersky, also found that 64% of respondents said that consuming news coverage of ransomware attacks left them feeling stressed.

"These stress levels were nearly identical between Americans and Canadians," said Kaspersky in its report Dealing with a New Normal in our Digital Reality. 

"When we asked this question in 2018, three quarters of respondents said news of data breaches caused them stress. This number dropped in 2019 to 68%, however since then, the number has barely changed (69%)."

Experiencing a cybersecurity incident ranked as one of life's top stressors for many respondents, with 37% saying that having their bank account compromised would be more stressful than losing their employment. 

Increased internet usage linked to the COVID-19 pandemic caused additional stress for 56% of survey respondents. 

Nearly three in five respondents increased their use of online services because of the pandemic, with over a quarter (27%) reporting a significant increase. But while 64% of Millennials went online more because of the pandemic, only 45% of Baby Boomers had spent more time on the internet.

Using the internet more often made nearly half of the men who were surveyed (49%) feel more confident that they could maintain their safety online. This confidence boost was only experienced by 29% of women. 

Fewer than half of respondents (48%) said that they check their accounts for indicators of compromise, and only 26% of respondents said that they educate themselves about online privacy. 

Cybersecurity incidents had been experienced by nearly half (48%) of all respondents within the past two years, compared to 28% in 2019. 

Marina Alekseeva, chief human resources officer at Kaspersky, said: “It is important to gain control of your digital life to have peace of mind in knowing your data is protected."

What’s hot on Infosecurity Magazine?