Report: 77% of US residents concerned about ransomware

86% of Americans believe that a ransomware attack should be treated as an act of terrorism, according to a new poll

US residents are overwhelmingly concerned about ransomware attacks (77% very/somewhat concerned), according to the Mitre-Harris Poll survey, which collected responses from 2,037 US adults.

The survey found that 86% of respondents agree that foreign ransomware and other cyber attacks on US infrastructure and manufacturing should be treated as acts of terrorism. 79% of residents also said that private companies should be prohibited from paying ransoms to hackers.

The United States is facing threats to our economic and national security in more domains than ever before. This poll reflects a concern that these challenges are further exacerbated by an erosion of our innovation leadership,” said Charles Clancy, senior vice president, general manager, MITRE Labs, and chief futurist. “The widespread concern and potential impact of cyber attacks, crucial technologies like 5G and artificial intelligence show the urgent need for a cohesive national strategy to foster innovation and growth in these key areas.”


Concerns over R&D investment 

It was found that the respondents are broadly concerned about the nation’s research and development (R&D) and innovation trajectory. The survey also sighted widespread concern over the economic and security implications of technology R&D investment and remaining competitive with China in emerging technology.

More than half of U.S. residents (55%) believe the U.S. government should be spending more on technology R&D in order to stay ahead of China. And more U.S. residents (37%) believe we are behind China on technology R&D than ahead (31%).

“This study provides a clear snapshot of the significant international competitiveness and cybersecurity threats in America,” said Rob Jekielek, managing director, The Harris Poll. “U.S. residents overwhelmingly agree that more needs to be done to address ransomware, international competitiveness and more. This consensus shows the widespread concern among U.S. residents.”


Working to address threats to national security

MITRE has been working to actively address these threats to economic and national security, and has proposed a Horizon Strategy Framework for science and technology innovation. MITRE partners with the government to address ransomware, working on techniques for the prevention, resiliency, and remediation of cyber attacks, and is exploring new public-private partnership models to improve information sharing and timely response.

Through the Cyber Infrastructure Protection Innovation Center, MITRE bridges public and private sectors to protect critical infrastructure with a mission-driven approach that brings a deep understanding of operational technology and adversarial behaviour. The center works to protect infrastructure including operational technology, industrial control systems, and cyber-physical systems.



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