Virtual Vaccination Card Prompts Cybersecurity Fears

A new poll has revealed that American and British adults would be put off using a virtual vaccination card by the fear that their personal data may not be protected. 

Cybersecurity company Anomali teamed up with The Harris Poll to question more than 2,000 Americans and 1,000 Brits aged over 18 on how they would feel about using COVID-19 digital vaccine cards, should they become a requirement for participating in activities like traveling, in-person learning, attending sporting events, and entering a store or government building.

While nearly all the adults surveyed (93% in the US and 89% in the UK) had smartphones capable of supporting digital vaccination cards, only around three quarters of respondents said they would be likely to use them. 

Brits were more enthusiastic than Americans, with 54% saying their adoption of such a card was "very likely" and 26% stating that it was "somewhat likely" compared with 45% and 23% of Americans, respectively. 

Among Americans, 20% said they were not at all likely to use a digital vaccination card, compared with 12% of adults in the UK. 

Parents were more likely to sign up for virtual vaccination cards, with 73% of US parents and 83% of British parents giving the possibility a thumbs up. Another group with a higher than average likelihood of using the cards was the affluent, with 85% of Brits earning over £30,000 and 78% of Americans taking home more than $100K pledging their approval. 

The poll found that more than three quarters (80% of Americans and 76% of those in the UK) of respondents had cybersecurity concerns over using the cards. The main worry cited by both nationalities was identity theft, but respondents were also troubled by the possibility of a data breach.

The polled listed their third biggest cybersecurity concern as the worry that threat actors might be able to break into smartphones using fake digital vaccination cards.

Describing who they thought might carry out a cyberattack related to COVID-19 digital vaccination cards, Americans most frequently choose nation-states, including Russia, China, or North Korea (36%), while Brits pointed the finger at organized cybercriminal gangs (42%).

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