Cyberterrorism tops list of threats to US vital interests: Gallup

AP Photo/Jon Elswick
A Joint Cybersecurity Advisory published by the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency about destructive malware that is targeting organizations in Ukraine is photographed Monday, Feb. 28, 2022.

Cyberterrorism now ranks as the top critical threats to U.S. vital interests surpassing nuclear weapons and foreign terrorism, according to a new Gallup poll

Americans are becoming increasingly concerned about how hackers can cause significant disruption and fear in society, with 84 percent of them citing cyberterrorism as the highest critical threat.

“Americans continue to cite cyberterrorism as the leading critical threat to U.S. vital security interests, as they have since 2021,” the report says.

“Before that, international terrorism and the development of nuclear weapons by Iran and North Korea ranked highest.”

Concerns about the development of nuclear weapons by Iran and North Korea ranked second and third, respectively, and was closely followed by foreign terrorism. 

Along political lines, 86 percent of Republicans and Democrats agreed that cyberterrorism was the top threat. 

Unlike other policy issues, cybersecurity has become one of the few bipartisan matters that lawmakers of both parties are investing in and prioritizing.

Over the last year, lawmakers have introduced and passed several bipartisan cybersecurity bills, with many focused on protecting critical infrastructure, including in the health and energy sectors

Just this week, a bipartisan pair of Senate lawmakers introduced two bills that would strengthen the U.S. cyber workforce and support the federal government in its response to cyber threats.

The legislation, introduced by Sens. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), would create pilot programs within the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security to recruit qualified civilian cybersecurity workers to serve in a reserve capacity. 

The programs are intended to ensure that the government has the cyber talent it needs to “defeat, deter, or respond to malicious cyber activity,” according to a press release

“Our bipartisan legislation will help ensure the U.S. government can leverage existing cybersecurity talent from the private sector to help our nation deter and swiftly respond to cyberattacks,” Rosen said in a statement. 

Tags gallup poll Jacky Rosen nuclear weapons terrorism

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