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Unisys State-of-Security-Concern Measure Drops to Lowest Point Since Survey Began

Unisys has released the results of its semi-annual Security Index, which is down slightly, at 136, from the same survey taken in the first half of the year.  The company says the numerical rating indicates "a moderate level of concern."  It's the lowest rating since the survey began in 2007.

The telephone survey of 1,004 U.S. respondents (all at least 18 years old) showed they are most concerned about national security (in relation to war or terrorism), followed by concerns over identity theft and bankcard fraud. When it comes to protecting themselves, 80 percent of social media users say they routinely limit the personal information posted on such sites and set privacy settings so information is restricted. Nearly three in four (73 percent) regularly update their anti-virus software, and two-thirds (67 percent) shred financial and medical documents.

There's room for improvement where passwords are concerned: only 46 percent "regularly" use or update passwords that are difficult to guess (30 percent say they do so "every once in a while"), and only 37 percent of mobile device owners use passwords on their hardware.

When it comes to protection, 61 percent say the President of the United States should have the authority to take control of the Internet "in the event of a malicious cyber-security attack" by "a foreign government against our military, civilian government, electrical grid, financial systems, or other critical infrastructure." The youngest consumers (those 18-34) are the least worried about national security; it concerns only 48 percent of this group; those with at least a high-school education worry the most about national security.

The survey -- a snapshot of the "nation's sense of security" according to Unisys -- provides a regular, "statistically robust" measure of concerns about eight areas of safety: national security (the security of the U.S. in relation to war or terrorism, serious health epidemics in the U.S.), financial security (the ability of others to obtain and use credit/debit card information, your ability to meet essential financial obligations such as mortgages and bill payments), Internet security (how secure a computer is against viruses and unsolicited e-mail, the security of online shopping and banking), and personal security (personal information breaches and how secure you believe you'll feel in the next six months).

-- James E. Powell
Editorial Director, ESJ

Posted on 10/27/2010

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