Security News

US Voters Won't Support Candidates Who Approve Making Ransomware Payments

Two thirds of Americans believe that government organizations should never make ransomware payments to cyber criminals.

This is one of the findings of a new survey by The Harris Poll for cybersecurity company, Anomali.

The survey comes as more and more American cities are being targeted by cyber attacks. This year alone numerous cities have been held to ransom, including Riviera Beach and Lake City (Florida), Albany (New York), Baltimore (Maryland), and a co-ordinated attack on 23 towns in Texas. Many of the ransoms have been paid by city officials.

The National Conference of Mayors and the FBI have declared their positiom against making ransomware payments. The results of this survey show that Americans believe "government and businesses alike should do more to defend against ransomware and cyberattacks ... and that government officials’ decisions related to cybersecurity will impact voting decisions they make in the future."

These 'beliefs' are backed up by several 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

64% of Americans believe that businesses should never make ransomware payments to cyber criminals

66% of Americans believe that government organizations 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

Along with these results, 87% believe that government should consider cybersecurity as a priority, yet 51 percent believe the government is dealing with the issue effectively. A federal income tax increase to help fund government efforts to defend against cyberattacks was also suggested, garnering 61% suppport of the idea:

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, Anomali's Global Head of Threat Intelligence, adding: "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."

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