People around the globe identify ISIS and cybersecurity as leading threats to national security, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
ISIS is named as the top threat in a total of 18 countries surveyed – mostly concentrated in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the United States. A substantial number of the countries have endured deadly terrorist attacks claimed by the Islamic militant group, the survey said.
Cyberattacks from other countries and the condition of the global economy are named as major threats by global medians of 51% each. Cyberattacks are the top concern in Japan and second-highest concern in places such as the U.S., Germany and the UK, where there have been a number of high-profile attacks of this type in recent months.
The story of global threats in 2017 is partly regional in nature, the survey said. Although ISIS and climate change are frequently cited as major threats, publics in particular countries and regions vary in the intensity and focus of their concerns.
ISIS is clearly the primary concern among the issues tested in Europe. Many Europeans also see climate change as a major threat to their countries.
In the Asia-Pacific, the Islamic State group and global warming rise to the top as major concerns, but a median of roughly half (52%) also worry about cyberattacks, the survey said.
Among people across the Middle East and North Africa, ISIS is the top threat in four of the five countries surveyed, including 97% who name it as a major threat in Lebanon. People in the Middle East are also concerned about the condition of the global economy and the power and influence of the U.S.
In sub-Saharan Africa, people are most concerned about climate change, but other threats such as the refugee crisis, ISIS, cyberattacks and the global economy are concerns of around half or more across the six nations surveyed.
Across 10 European nations, the U.S., Canada and Russia, majorities in most countries name ISIS as a serious threat to their countries. This includes a median of 74% across the European countries who say that ISIS is a major threat to their nation. The same number in the U.S. (74%) name ISIS as a top threat to their country. Relative to the other threats tested, people are especially worried about the Islamic State group in France (88%), Italy (85%) and Russia (58%), the survey said.
While half or more in seven of the 13 countries see cyberattacks from other countries as a major threat, in no country is it named as the top threat. Still, in the U.S. and Germany – both countries that have been targets of major attacks over the past year – 71% and 66% respectively see cyberattacks as a major threat. And across the 10 European countries, 54% say cyberattacks are a major concern. But only around a third in Russia agree (34%).
In views of ISIS as a threat, there is also a divide by age. In seven countries in Europe, North America and Russia, people ages 50 and older are much more concerned about the threat from the extremist group than are the young. For example, in the Netherlands, 78% of people 50 or older say that ISIS is a major threat to their country, while only 46% among Dutch youth say the same.