Identity and credit card theft continue to top list of security concerns; fewer Americans are extremely concerned about financial security compared with a year ago.
According to new research conducted by Unisys Corporation, security concern among Americans has declined for the second consecutive year to its lowest level since the company began tracking global security concerns in 2007.
Results from the Unisys Security Index, which regularly surveys more than 1,000 Americans on various areas of security concern, showed a significant drop in levels of security concern across all categories for the second straight year. The poll was undertaken in March via 1,006 telephone interviews.
On a scale of zero to 300, the overall U.S. Unisys Security Index scored at 120, representing a moderate level of concern. The score represented an 11 point drop from the 2012 Unisys Security Index, conducted in March 2012. All four areas of security concern surveyed by Unisys, national, personal, Internet and financial, declined for the second consecutive survey.
Immediately after the tragic events of the Boston Marathon bombing, Unisys conducted a special supplemental follow up survey, comprising another 1,005 interviews focusing on national security and terrorism concerns. Even in the wake of the bombing, levels of concerns did not increase, and Americans surveyed espoused a significantly lower level of concern over national security matters than in February 2012. That said, 45 percent of American respondents remain seriously concerned about national security in relation to terrorism, down one percentage point from prior to the Boston Marathon.
We were surprised to see that the events in Boston did not immediately elevate national security concern, said Steve Vinsik, vice president of enterprise security for Unisys. We believe this suggests that Americans have reached a new level of maturity and resolve with regard to security concerns. Americans know that the risks are there; in fact, are greater than ever; but we have a stiff resolve in not allowing terrorists to disrupt our daily lives.
Financial security, bankcard fraud and identity theft top areas of security concern.
Financial security remains the number one area of security concern among Americans, with about one-third, 32 percent, of respondents saying they were seriously concerned about their ability to meet financial obligations such as mortgages, credit cards, bill payments or other loans. However, those saying they were extremely concerned about their ability to meet such financial obligations dropped from 20 percent of respondents in 2012 to 13 percent in the most recent survey.
The other top categories of concern for Americans surveyed were bankcard fraud and identity theft. More than half of the respondents, 52 percent, reported being seriously concerned about other people obtaining and using their credit or debit cards and a slightly larger margin (54 percent) were seriously concerned about identity theft, the top concern in the category of personal security.
It is important for American consumers, and the organizations that serve them, not to be lulled into a sense of complacency about security, noted Vinsik. Cybersecurity threats and other risks to business continuity have increased in intensity and frequency since Unisys began this benchmark study in 2007. The country needs to stay vigilant and to employ the best technological means to protect our people, our infrastructure, and our critical data.
The U.S. had the second lowest level of overall concern of the 12 countries surveyed in the recent Unisys Security Index. Only respondents in the Netherlands reported lower levels of concern with an index of 71. The highest level of concern was reported in Colombia, where the index was 189.
About the Unisys Security Index
The Unisys Security Index is an annual global study that provides insights into the attitudes of consumers on a wide range of security related issues. Lieberman Research Group conducted the survey in Latin America, Europe and the U.S.; Newspoll conducted the research in Asia-Pacific. The Unisys Security Index surveys more than 11,000 people in 12 countries: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Germany, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. For more information, visit www.unisyssecurityindex.com.