Anomali Harris Poll Reveals Majority of Americans Won’t Vote for Candidates Who Approve Ransomware Payments

Anomali, a leader in intelligence-driven cybersecurity, today announced the results of its recent survey conducted by The Harris Poll. It includes responses from more than 2,000 American adults and reveals how Americans believe business and government organizations should respond to ransomware attacks as well as their opinions on cybersecurity in general.

Cybercriminals have been using ransomware to profit off of unprepared victims for more than a decade. It rose to infamy when the WannaCry and NotPetya attacks struck the world. Recently, attackers have collected more than a million dollars from the Florida cities of Riviera Beach and Lake City. In July, ransomware drove Louisiana into a state of emergency. Organizations such as the FBI and National Conference of Mayors have come out against making ransomware payments. This survey suggests that Americans believe government and businesses alike should do more to defend against ransomware and cyberattacks, that they are willing to contribute more to the fight, and that government officials’ decisions related to cybersecurity will impact voting decisions they make in the future.

Key Findings:

  • 64% of registered voters will not vote for candidates who approve of making ransomware payments
  • 79% of registered voters will consider candidates’ stances on cybersecurity when making future voting decisions
  • 66% of Americans believe that government organizations should never make ransomware payments to cyber criminals
  • 64% of Americans believe that businesses should never make ransomware payments to cyber criminals
  • 86% of Americans agree that when organizations make ransomware payments, they are encouraging cyber criminals to continue with such attacks
  • 70% of Americans agree that when organizations do make ransomware payments to cyber criminals, it is likely because they were left with no other choice
  • Roughly 1 in 5 Americans (21%) have experienced a ransomware attack on a personal and/or work device; among those who experienced an attack on a work device, 46% say their company paid the ransom

Americans are Prioritizing Cyber Security, Willing to Contribute More to Fight

The survey revealed that many Americans view cybersecurity as a priority. A large portion (87%) believe that government should consider it as such. However, only 51 percent believe the government is effectively addressing the issue. The survey also showed that 61 percent of Americans would support a federal income tax increase to help fund government efforts to defend against cyberattacks. The breakdown for the amount of tax increase Americans would support is:

  • 25% support an increase of up to 1%
  • 14% support an increase of up to 2%
  • 12% support an increase of up to 3%
  • 6% support an increase of up to 4%
  • 5% support an increase of 5% or more

“Enterprises and government agencies have started to pay closer attention to cybersecurity as they have learned that it can have a detrimental impact on their reputations and bottom lines,” said Nicholas Hayden, Global Head of Threat Intelligence, Anomali. “It is encouraging to learn that average Americans are now more attuned to how important cybersecurity is and to find out that they are willing to make financial commitments to doing something about it.”

Read more at Anomali.