Survey: Majority Have Suffered Cyberattack

According to a new Pew Research Center survey on cybersecurity, about half of Americans polled (49%) said they felt their personal information was less secure than it was five years ago, and a majority (64%) say they have been exposed to some kind of data breach.

The respondents did not have high expectations that the situation would be changing anytime soon.

Only 21% said they have a high level of confidence that either the federal government or social media sites can protect their personal information.

That comes as the government—White House, FCC and FTC—are trying to figure out how best to protect personal information and critical infrastructure in an Internet of Things world.

The respondents were about evenly split on the issue of encryption and whether the government should be able to get around it for law enforcement purposes.

According to the survey, 46% believe the government should be able to access encrypted data when pursuing criminals, while 44% said encryption should be unbreakable, even to law enforcement. Democrats and younger people skewed toward strong encryption, while Republicans tend to favor law enforcement access.

One reason respondents may not have confidence in the security of their data is they neglect to follow cybersecurity best practices.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.