Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

Survey: People Fear Cyber Crime More Than Violent Crime

As cyber threats continue to rise, Americans say they’re more worried about cybercrime than any other type of crime.

People are twice as afraid of having their computer hacked than they are about having their car stolen or their house burglarized, according to a recent survey. And by a three-to-one margin, they fear cybercrime more than violent crime.

Those are some of the startling findings from this Gallup survey.

“As Americans have become increasingly reliant on digital data, the incidence of data breaches has also increased to the point that hundreds of millions of Americans have been affected one way or another,” writes Megan Brenan, citing massive breaches of Yahoo, Facebook and Target in this Gallup News article. “With more Americans impacted each year and media reports reflecting this, it is perhaps unsurprising that cybercrimes have rocketed to the top of the list of their worries.”

And it’s not just Average Joes and Janes who are concerned. Billionaire Warren Buffett says cyber attacks pose a greater threat to mankind than nuclear weapons.

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In its survey, Gallup asked this question: How often do you, yourself, worry about the following things: frequently, occasionally, rarely or never? Below are the percentage of respondents who said “frequently” or “occasionally.”

  • Having your personal, credit card or financial information stolen by computer hackers – 71 percent
  • Being the victim of identity theft – 67 percent
  • Having your home burglarized when you are not there – 40 percent
  • Having your car stolen or being broken into – 37 percent
  • Having a school-aged child physically harmed attending school – 32 percent
  • Getting mugged – 25 percent
  • Being the victim of terrorism – 24 percent
  • Being a victim of a hate crime – 22 percent
  • Having your home burglarized when you are there – 22 percent
  • Being attacked while driving your car – 22 percent
  • Being sexually assaulted – 20 percent
  • Getting murdered – 17 percent
  • Being assaulted/killed by a co-worker/employee where you work – 7 percent


A Dozen Ways to Protect Yourself

  1. Train your staff on Cyber Safety 101.
  2. Educate yourself and your team on common threats.
  3. Never click on a suspicious email or one that asks for personal or financial information without confirming that it actually came from the purported sender.
  4. Use strong passwords, change them regularly, and keep them safe and secure.
  5. Install anti-virus and firewall programs.
  6. Keep all software current, including installing patches and updates when they are made available.
  7. Use two-factor authentication for sensitive sites.
  8. Have an office policy for using laptops and devices offsite.
  9. Make sure your policy addresses how employees can use office equipment for personal use.
  10. Limit access to confidential data.
  11. Communicate regularly on perceived risks and possible solutions.
  12. Purchase cyber liability insurance.


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About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

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