Australians and Danes afraid of cyber attacks more than Covid-19

Ruth C. | September 15, 2020

The year 2020 presented us with a new challenge — Covid-19, which has impacted the majority of the world. Nevertheless, according to data presented by the Atlas VPN team, 70% of Australians and 66% of Danes named cyber attacks as the primary threat to their countries when asked about top global risks.

The numbers are based on a Pew Research Center attitude survey, which features data from 14,276 interviewees in 14 countries, including the United States, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, and South Korea.

The data collection took place via phone from June 10, 2020, up to August 3, 2020. Interviewees were asked to rate nine global concerns depending on whether they believe it is a major threat to their country, a minor threat, or not a threat at all.

While Australia and Denmark are continents away, the countries’ residents share the same concerns — both Australians and Danes are more afraid of cyber attacks than any other significant global threat, including the pandemic. A total of 70% of Australians and 66% of Danes named cyber attacks the number one threat to their country. Furthermore, our research suggest that Australians lost almost $90 million to online scams. Thus, their concerns are understandable.

In Australia, the fear of cyber attacks is closely followed by the fear of the pandemic, with 68% of residents citing it as a major threat. Danes, on the other hand, regard climate change as the second biggest risk, with 60% of Danes believing it poses a great danger to the country.

While both the South Korean and the US residents cited the spread of infectious diseases as the top-most threat, with 89% and 78% of respondents respectively saying they fear it the most, cyber attacks came in as the second most frequently mentioned major risk.

The number of South Koreans and US residents who perceive cyber attacks as a significant threat is even bigger than in Australia or Denmark. A whopping 83% of South Koreans and 74% of United States residents said they are concerned about the cyber attack threats to their countries.

If we consider data from all 14 countries, 65% of people see cyber attacks as a primary concern, while 4% believe that cyber attacks do not present any threat to their countries.

Cyber attacks from other countries are perceived as the fourth most serious risk globally, only behind global climate change (70%), the spread of infectious diseases (69%), and terrorism (66%).

However, concerns about cyber attacks have not always been this great and have grown over the years. Since 2017, the share of Australians seeing cyber attacks a significant threat to their country has surged by nearly a fifth (19%) from 51% to 70%. In South Korea, the number has risen by 6% from 77% to 83%, while in the US, slightly less — by 3% from 71% to 74%.

Older people are more worried about security

Different generations perceive global threats differently. Generally, the population of over 50 year-olds is more likely to name global threats, including cyber attacks, as major concerns.

The biggest age gap (36%) is prevalent in Denmark, where 79% of those aged 50 and more believe that cyber attacks pose a substantial threat to their country, compared to only 43% of those aged 18 to 29.

Denmark is followed by Australia, where the age gap between the oldest and the youngest generations surveyed is 28%. Cyber attacks are considered a serious threat by 80% of those aged 50 and above and 52% of those aged 18 to 29.

In the US, 83% of people above 50 years old think cyber attacks constitute a significant threat. That is 22% more than the 18 to 29-year-olds, of whom 61% believe cyber attacks to be a severe risk.

However, the South Korean population is an exception to the general trend of the oldest age group perceiving security threats as major. In South Korea, 30 to 49-year-olds expressed more concern over the cyber attack threat than the different age groups in South Korea and other surveyed countries.

An astounding 88% of South Koreans between 30 to 49 years olds rated cyber attacks as a serious threat to their country compared to 87% of Koreans aged above 50 and 65% of Koreans aged 18 to 29.

Ruth C.

Ruth C.

Cybersecurity Researcher and Publisher at Atlas VPN. Interested in cybercrime, online security, and privacy-related topics.


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