Terrorism, specifically from the Islamic extremist group known as ISIS, and cyberattacks are also seen by many as major security threats, says a new report from the Pew Research Center.
In eight of the countries surveyed, including Russia, France, Indonesia and Nigeria, ISIS is seen as the top threat. In four nations, including Japan and the United States, people see cyberattacks from other countries as their top international concern. One country, Poland, names Russia’s power and influence as its top threat, but few elsewhere say Russia is a major concern.
In 2018, a median of 61% across the countries see cyberthreats as a serious concern, up from 54% who said this in 2017.
In the past few years there have been multiple headline-grabbing cybersecurity breaches in places as varied as the U.S., Japan and South Africa, the study says. Since 2017, there have been double-digit rises in those saying cyberattacks from other countries are a major threat to their country in Tunisia (up 25 percentage points), the Netherlands (+15 points), Greece (+12), Sweden (+11) and Canada (+10).

Meanwhile, says the study, there has been a decrease since 2017 in the number of countries that see ISIS as the top security threat. Substantial double-digit declines among those saying ISIS is a major threat occurred over the past year in Israel (down 16 points), Spain (-13), the U.S. (-12), Greece (-10) and Japan (-10).

Across the five Asia-Pacific countries surveyed, cyberattacks, climate change and ISIS are all mentioned as top concerns by at least one country. In Japan, it is cyberattacks, while in South Korea and Australia, it is climate change. ISIS is named as the top threat in the Philippines and Indonesia, nations where Islamic extremist violence has occurred frequently over the past 15 years.

The three sub-Saharan African countries surveyed express distinct top concerns. ISIS stands out as the greatest threat in Nigeria, where the ISIS-affiliated terrorist groups Boko Haram and Islamic State in West Africa have a strong presence. About six-in-ten (61%) categorize the group as a major concern, an 8-point increase since the question was first asked in 2016.

Across the Middle Eastern, sub-Saharan African and Latin American countries surveyed, there are a variety of international concerns, but generally, climate change and ISIS are seen as top threats.

In both Tunisia and Israel, ISIS is considered the top threat. Roughly eight-in-ten Tunisians (81%) see the militant Islamic group as a major threat. They are additionally apprehensive about the condition of the world economy, cyberattacks and climate change. About six-in-ten (61%) also say U.S. power and influence are a major threat to their country.

Israelis also see ISIS as the top international threat among those tested. However, only 47% label it a major threat, illustrating Israel’s relatively low level of concern about all threat items tested. Roughly four-in-ten see cyberattacks (42%) and climate change (38%) as pressing threats.