More than four in five Americans (82 percent) agree that cyberattacks are more of a problem than they were five years ago, yet more than half (54 percent) don’t feel they personally are at much risk of a from such a hack, according to a new ReportLinker survey about attitudes toward cyberattack.

Some attacks, like those against Sony, Yahoo! and other large corporations are well known, while the alleged involvement of Russia in cyberattacks is also well-publicized, leading to the heightened awareness.

Attitudes Toward Cyberattack
More than a third of survey respondents – 17 percent – believe hackers mostly target the government, while 35 percent believe corporations are the primary targets for hackers, the research notes. Just under half (47 percent) believe individuals are the most frequent target.

Beyond the well-known attacks, there is also growing risk of hacks from connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices, many of which have little or no security protections. For example, ISP Dynamic Network Services suffered a denial of service (DDoS) attack by hackers using Mirai, a network of internet connected devices such as security cameras and DVRs. Twitter, Spotify and Netflix – as well as their customers – were among those affected, according to ReportLinker. In the survey, respondents said they believe desktops/laptops (59 percent of mentions) and smartphones (25 percent of mentions) are more vulnerable than IoT devices (9 percent), despite the greater presence of security protections in the first two.

Source: ReportLinker

As people share information across the internet, the risk of having their personal data hacked grows, particularly as more people are using cloud storage and file-sharing services. Google Drive and Apple iCloud are the most popular of such services, ReportLinker said.

Despite the heightened awareness of potential security threats, most Americans still follow the easiest path to creating a password, choosing one that is easy to remember – and easy for cybercriminals to decipher.

Too often, people choose passwords like “password” or “1235678,” which are easy to guess, yet remain the two most popular passwords.

Image courtesy of flickr user Yuri Samoilov.

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