National Security

Why Americans Consider Russia A Greater Cyber Threat Than China

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter

Americans now consider Russia the most worrisome cyber threat, according to a recent survey, beating out other actors like China, Anonymous and the “neighborhood nerd.”

Just less than half of Americans surveyed say they worry about hacker groups, according to California-based encryption company Alertsec, and they are most worried about Russia. Anonymous, the non-state hacker collective responsible for several major cyber attacks in recent years, was the second most concerning actor, followed by petty thieves, and lastly, China.

“These survey results illustrate that Americans are very concerned when it comes to cyber-attacks, especially those from other countries,” Ebba Blitz, CEO of Alertsec, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The survey results may be somewhat surprising to those watching the cyber security issue, considering that China is believed to be responsible for several massive data breaches, including the Office of Personnel Management hack which jeopardized the personal information of more than 18 million people. Russia’s alleged breach of the Democratic National Committee’s servers and Hillary Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta’s email account had far less of a direct impact on the average person, in comparison. Anonymous frustrated several victims through its various cyber attacks, but it too has had less of an impact compared to China’s multitude of threats.

Experts and security officials still consider China one of the top cyber threats, so why the low ranking?

The answer has as much to do with perception as it does reality.

Blitz said that the survey results are likely a result of the current news cycle, which is dominated by Russia, given the recent allegations of the Kremlin meddling in the U.S. election.

“What gets most the most media attention will also be what we fear most,” Blitz told TheDCNF. She added that Anonymous likely beat out China because the collective has an “air of mysticism.” In other words, people tend to fear what they do not understand.

“We pay a lot of attention to things, and then they seem bigger than they actually are,” said Blitz.

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